Court Upholds E-Vote Machines

State Dems lose another legal round in eSlate case

The Texas Democratic Party's efforts to remove the Hart InterCivic eSlate electronic voting machine (used by Travis and 101 other Texas counties) from use in Texas have been shot down again, this time by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The TDP sued then-Secretary of State Roger Williams last year for approving eSlate machines, allegedly in violation of state law. The TDP pointed out that on eSlate machines, if a voter casts a straight-party ballot but then scrolls down the ballot and punches the name of a particular candidate from that party – just to "make sure" their vote for that candidate is properly recorded – the voter will inadvertently "de-select" that candidate, and no vote will be recorded.

The TDP asserted that this problem violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, state law respecting intent of the voter, and Help America Vote Act provisions requiring "uniform and nondiscriminatory standards" across systems used in the state. But last August, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks granted a summary judgment in favor of Williams, writing that Williams "made a reasonable, politically neutral, and nondiscriminatory choice to certify" the machines. Last week, the 5th Circuit upheld that decision.

"While I have great respect for the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, I strongly disagree with their ruling," said TDP Chair Boyd Richie. "I adamantly believe there is evidence that some votes in Texas have not been counted because of defective electronic voting machines, undermining the accuracy and fairness of our elections. The Texas Democratic Party remains committed to protecting every Texan's right to vote, and we will continue consulting with our attorney in order to determine what further steps, if any, we will take in order to resolve this pressing issue."

Hart InterCivic has previously declined to comment on the suit.

Got something to say on the subject? Send a letter to the editor.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More electronic voting
Democrats' Suit Demands State 'Fix' Voting Machines
Democrats' Suit Demands State 'Fix' Voting Machines
Party says eSlate has flawed method of recording votes

Lee Nichols, Feb. 16, 2007

How Safe Is Your E-Vote?
How Safe Is Your E-Vote?
Elections go digital, but experts fear a crash

Lee Nichols, Feb. 20, 2004

More by Lee Nichols
From the Music Desk
From the Music Desk
On Willie, Billy, Stevie Ray, Blaze, and more highlights from four decades of covering Austin music

Sept. 3, 2021

Game Changer
Game Changer
A new football culture for Austin bars

Oct. 23, 2015


electronic voting, electronic voting machines, Texas Democratic Party, election

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle