Federal Appeals Court Agrees to Speed ACLU's Request For Hearing on "Punch Card" Voting Machines Case

August 28, 2003 12:00 am

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Federal Appeals Court Agrees to Speed ACLU’s Request For Hearing on “Punch Card” Voting Machines Case


LOS ANGELES – The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California said today that the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has granted its request for an expedited hearing in the “punch card” voting machines case.

“This is great news for the voters of California,” said Mark Rosenbaum, Legal Director of the ACLU of Southern California. “As it stands now, close to 8 million voters could be at the mercy of these faulty, unreliable and decertified machines. Californians deserve to go to the polls knowing that their vote will be counted, not discarded.”

In legal papers filed with the court, the ACLU said that continued use of the now-decertified “punch card” voting machines — the same machines at the center of the 2000 Florida election debacle – could lead to widespread disenfranchisement of voters residing in counties that are still using the outdated, obsolete machines.

Among the six counties still using “punch card” voting machines is Los Angeles County, with over 4 million voters — the most populous voting county in the nation. The other five counties include: Sacramento, San Diego, Mendocino, Santa Clara, and Solano.

The ACLU has taken no position on the California recall election itself.

Last week, a federal district court judge refused to postpone the recall election and the vote on two critical ballot initiatives until all of California’s “punch card” machines could be replaced. Six California counties currently use the outdated machines, which will be replaced, by court order, no later than March 1, 2004.

Harvard law professor and noted constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe, and University of Southern California law professor Erwin Chemerinsky joined the ACLU in filing the appeal to the Ninth Circuit.

A hearing has been set for Thursday, September 11th, 2003, in Pasadena.

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