The ACLU-NJ, along with other civil rights organizations, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in July 2005 challenging the state's use of direct recording electronic voting equipment. The brief highlighted the significance of the right to vote and described how, under then-current guidelines, the proposed electronic voting systems could not be properly certified, re-examined the same way as paper ballots or subjected to an independent recount. Certification, re-examination and the ability to recount are all required under New Jersey law. The brief also described various problems with the use of electronic voting systems in recent elections.
After the appeals court remanded the case to the trial court, the court issued an order in May 2008 allowing investigators to examine the machines. But the court also prohibited those experts from discussing their findings until the case was resolved, including through appeals, even if they believed there were errors or the system can be hacked. Thus, in a trial about nontransparent voting systems, the expert reports were themselves ordered sealed.
After the ACLU-NJ's intervention, the court modified the sealing order, only barring the experts to talk publicly about their conclusions for a period of a few months, which ended in or about October 2008. After a 15-week trial, the trial court ruled in February 2010 that while the State of New Jersey would be permitted to continue using electronic voting machines, it had to take several steps beforehand. Most importantly, it had to reconstitute its voting machine committee with appropriately-skilled experts and re-examine whether it was appropriate to continue using these voting machines in New Jersey. The State was required to "harden" its software in order to protect it against vulnerabilities, change its procedures in the use of tamper-evident seals on voting machines, and make sure that all election computers used dedicated lines not connected to the Internet.
Status: This case has been remanded to the Law Division for factual findings relating to implementation of new law requiring paper records.