Friday, August 28, 2015

Judge rules in favor of activists on paper ballots

A federal judge ruled took the side of voter rights groups today, ruling that paper ballots must be made available on Election Day in Pennsylvania if fifty percent of the machines at a polling place are broken. A coalition of voters rights and civil rights groups sued the state after the PA Secretary of State decided to only provide paper ballots if all the machines were broken. They argued that voters could be disinfranchised if they had to wait in long lines for machine repairs. Here's the press release from the group Voter Action: Federal Judge Rules that More Emergency Paper Ballots Be Made Available in Pennsylvania When Voters Face Voting Machine Breakdowns PHILADELPHIA, PA – Federal Judge Harvey S. Bartle III ruled today that emergency paper ballots must be made available when fifty percent or more voting machines fail at polling locations across Pennsylvania. Judge Bartle, who is the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, issued the ruling in favor of plaintiffs who had argued that voters could be disenfranchised by having to wait hours in line due to voting machine breakdowns. The plaintiffs presented testimony at an eight hour hearing yesterday before Judge Bartle that voters had faced such long lines caused by voting machine problems during the primary election in Pennsylvania in April, particularly in low-income minority neighborhoods. “This is a huge victory for the voters of Pennsylvania,”said John Bonifaz, legal director for Voter Action and co-counsel for the plaintiffs. “This ruling will ensure that many voters across Pennsylvania will not be disenfranchised when voting machines break down on Election Day.” The lawsuit followed numerous reports during Pennsylvania’s April primary of long lines when electronic voting machines became inoperable at their polling sites. Voters called national election protection hotlines on primary day, including 866-MYVOTE1, reporting that election officials were not providing emergency paper ballots when voting machines malfunctioned. Callers stated that voters were told either to wait in line – sometimes for hours – or to come back later to vote. The reports revealed that many voters left their polling locations without casting their votes. The plaintiffs include in the case include the NAACP State Conference of Pennsylvania, individual voters who reported long lines and voting machine breakdowns during the state’s primary election in April, and the Election Reform Network, a local election integrity organization. The plaintiffs are represented by Voter Action, a national voting rights organization, the law firm of Emery Cell Brinckerhoff & Abady, and the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia.

Judge rules in favor of activists on paper ballots

0 comments

A federal judge ruled took the side of voter rights groups today, ruling that paper ballots must be made available on Election Day in Pennsylvania if fifty percent of the machines at a polling place are broken.

A coalition of voters rights and civil rights groups sued the state after the PA Secretary of State decided to only provide paper ballots if all the machines were broken. They argued that voters could be disinfranchised if they had to wait in long lines for machine repairs.

Here's the press release from the group Voter Action:

Federal Judge Rules that More Emergency Paper Ballots Be Made Available

in Pennsylvania When Voters Face Voting Machine Breakdowns


PHILADELPHIA, PA – Federal Judge Harvey S. Bartle III ruled today that emergency paper ballots must be made available when fifty percent or more voting machines fail at polling locations across Pennsylvania. Judge Bartle, who is the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, issued the ruling in favor of plaintiffs who had argued that voters could be disenfranchised by having to wait hours in line due to voting machine breakdowns. The plaintiffs presented testimony at an eight hour hearing yesterday before Judge Bartle that voters had faced such long lines caused by voting machine problems during the primary election in Pennsylvania in April, particularly in low-income minority neighborhoods.



“This is a huge victory for the voters of Pennsylvania,”said John Bonifaz, legal director for Voter Action and co-counsel for the plaintiffs. “This ruling will ensure that many voters across Pennsylvania will not be disenfranchised when voting machines break down on Election Day.”



The lawsuit followed numerous reports during Pennsylvania’s April primary of long lines when electronic voting machines became inoperable at their polling sites. Voters called national election protection hotlines on primary day, including 866-MYVOTE1, reporting that election officials were not providing emergency paper ballots when voting machines malfunctioned. Callers stated that voters were told either to wait in line – sometimes for hours – or to come back later to vote. The reports revealed that many voters left their polling locations without casting their votes.



The plaintiffs include in the case include the NAACP State Conference of Pennsylvania, individual voters who reported long lines and voting machine breakdowns during the state’s primary election in April, and the Election Reform Network, a local election integrity organization. The plaintiffs are represented by Voter Action, a national voting rights organization, the law firm of Emery Cell Brinckerhoff & Abady, and the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia.

0 comments
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy:

Philly.com comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by Philly.com staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
 
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog
William Bender, a Drexel graduate who landed at the Daily News in 2007, has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters. He occasionally writes about local food trucks and always eats everything on his plate, whether it be a bloody rib eye or a corrupt politician. E-mail tips to benderw@phillynews.com
 Follow William on Twitter

David Gambacorta, has been a reporter with the Daily News since 2005, covering crime, police corruption and all of the other bizarre things that happen in Philadelphia. Now he’s covering the 2015 mayor’s race, because he enjoys a good circus just as much as the next guy. He’s always looking to get a cup of coffee. Send news tips and other musings on life to gambacd@phillynews.com
 Follow David on Twitter

PhillyClout Team
Also on Philly.com
letter icon Newsletter