- PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- Last
week, freelance journalist Lynn Landes filed two Temporary Restraining
Orders (TRO) in federal district court in Philadelphia. Landes is one of
the nation's leading journalists on voting technology and democracy issues.
She is attempting to halt the use of voting machines and absentee ballots
in the upcoming presidential election.
In her lawsuits, Landes says there are two legal standards for any voting
process. These standards are described in the oversight function of Federal
observers under federal statute, Title 42 § 1973f of the United State
Code, (1) "...whether persons who are entitled to vote are being
to vote," and (2) "...whether votes cast by persons entitled
to vote are being properly tabulated." Landes claims that the use
of absentee voting and voting machines fails to meet either standard. She
says that the use of absentee ballots and voting machines is effectively
unobservable and therefore denies meaningful oversight by election
poll watchers, Federal observers, the press, and the public.
"This nation's voting system is a total sham, " says Landes.
"In the upcoming election, a couple of corporations (ES&S and
Diebold) with strong ties to the Republican Party will count 80% of the
vote in virtual secrecy. Democratic candidates should be in federal court
now protesting this insanity. It might be too late after the election.
Landes claims that elections in America are not being properly administered
under the U.S. Constitution or federal law. Direct public participation
and effective oversight is impossible to all intents and purposes, she
"It's like holding a public meeting at City Hall and then shutting
out the public. Vote fraud and system failure can easily occur and remain
completely undetectable. The end result is that we have no legitimate way
to prove who really wins elections in this country. And the very last thing
we should do is to trust the corporate media and their polling
to tell us what's going on," she warns.
Originally, Landes filed two Complaints in U.S. District Court for the
Eastern District of Pennsylvania on July 2, 2004. However, since the
election was fast approaching, Landes decided to also file TROs. The
Court ruled immediately against Landes on the issue of absentee ballots.
On Friday, Oct. 15th, she filed an appeal to that decision in the Third
Circuit Court of Appeals. The TRO filed against the use of voting machines
has yet to be scheduled.
In her appeal to the Third Circuit, Landes suggests the establishment of
remote polling precincts for absentee voters. She says that remote
can be set up at municipal buildings and college campuses across the
as well as at embassies, consulates, overseas military bases, and onboard
military ships. The use of a universal ballot for president and vice
would be a practical remedy for those two races. Landes sees a logistical
nightmare if other races were included, however.
"If there isn't sufficient time for these remedies to be put into
place, the Supreme Court should order a delay of the election for no more
than 30 days," says Landes. "This is not a perfect solution,
but at least it would be legal."
- See Landes lawsuit filings at:
Contact: Lynn Landes
- (215) 629-3553