ACLU Helps Land Victory for Voters and Open Government

June 20, 2008

NEWARK - The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey celebrated a superior court ruling today allowing experts commissioned to test the state's voting machines to speak about their findings.

"This decision is a victory for democracy in New Jersey," said Avidan Cover of Gibbons PC, who wrote the brief on behalf of the ACLU-NJ. "Our right to vote is only secure when we know whether our votes will be counted. If there are problems, we're one step closer to knowing before the election, not after."

Modifying a previous order, Judge Linda Feinberg ruled today that a gag order on experts inspecting New Jersey voting machines would last only 90 days, beginning June 30. In that time, the experts will have 30 days to test the machines and 30 days to issue their findings. Then the State has 30 days to review the experts' findings. Following that, the information will be made available to the public.

"We're gratified by this ruling," said Cover, who submitted a friend-of-the-court brief earlier this month on behalf of the ACLU-NJ, New Jersey Press Association, North Jersey Media Group and New Jersey Foundation for Open Government asking Feinberg to reverse her earlier order silencing experts from releasing findings about the state's voting machines. "This means that we can have meaningful public debate," he added.

In May, the court allowed experts to investigate the integrity of the machines, but they were not allowed to discuss the results until the lawsuit was finished, including through appeals, even if they believed there were security problems or serious errors.

For More Information

Read the ACLU-NJ and League of Women Voters of New Jersey's report about voting rights during the February primary election, including voting machine problems at /index.php/download_file/view/530/668

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