Wednesday, April 19, 2006

PA: Court Hearing To Decide Voting Machines' Fate

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A three-day battle will be waged next week to determine whether Allegheny County voters will use new electronic voting machines in May's primary.

A lawsuit, which also names the state of Pennsylvania and the U.S. government, was filed last week. It claims the county's proposed $11.9 million purchase of 4,700 electronic voting machines from Nebraska-based Election Systems & Software was rushed and could pose problems during the May 16 primary.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of seven voters and the group People for the American Way, seeks to have the county barred from buying and using the new machines until steps can be taken to safeguard voter rights.

U.S. District Judge Gary L. Lancaster, who will hear the case, met Tuesday with select lawyers for each party involved -- two attorneys each for the plaintiffs, county, state and federal governments.

A plaintiff and nine attorneys, including some from Philadelphia and Baltimore, were excluded from the closed-door meeting in his chambers, although the judge had ordered all attorneys for all parties to attend in person.

The preliminary injunction hearing on the voting machines begins Tuesday and will be open.
Jason Cato can be reached at or 412-320-7840.


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