WASHINGTON, DC — July 23, 2020 — The public interest legal organization, Free Speech For People and pro bono counsel from Covington & Burling LLP yesterday filed an amicus brief on behalf of several of the nation’s leading computer security experts in support of a petition for Supreme Court review of a Tennessee case challenging the use of electronic voting machines. 

The case, Shelby Advocates for Valid Elections (SAVE) v. Hargett, seeks the discontinued use of insecure, hackable, Diebold AccuVoteTSx touchscreen voting machines in Shelby County, Tennessee in favor of hand-marked paper ballots. The same AccuVote TSx touchscreen machines were challenged successfully in federal court in Georgia in Curling v. Kemp, which ruled that the machines unconstitutionally fail to protect the voters’ right to have their vote cast and counted securely and accurately. 

As the brief explains, “the machines used in Shelby County are so unreliable as to pose an imminent threat to voters’ rights.”

SAVE v. Hargett was wrongly decided by the lower courts because the injuries caused to voters are not speculative: the paperless AccuVote TSx’s critical technological flaws and badly implemented systems have led to repeated instances of vote miscounts and flipped votes, and have left Shelby County elections vulnerable to hacking,” says Courtney Hostetler, Senior Counsel at Free Speech For People. “Shelby County requires its voters to vote on aged, insecure voting machines that will irreparably harm the plaintiffs, cost people their right to vote, and undermine the legitimacy of Shelby County elections. The Courts should step in to correct the lower courts’ rulings, acknowledge the imminent risk to plaintiffs’ rights, and protect Shelby County voters.”

Amici on the brief include noted computer security researchers Dr. Peter Neumann, Professor Eugene Spafford, Professor Richard DeMillo, Professor Andrew Appel, Professor Philip Stark, Professor Duncan Buell, Professor Alex Halderman, Dr. David Jefferson, Bruce Schneier, and Harri Hursti. The Amicus brief outlines just some of the extensive scientific research that has been conducted on the AccuVote TSx system, including original research by some of the Amici, which establishes conclusively that the AccuVote TSx is unacceptably insecure, susceptible to manipulation, and prone to errors and failures. 

“As the Court found in the Curling case, there is a “mountain of identified critical security flaws” that must not be ignored,” said Susan Greenhalgh, Senior Advisor on Election Security for Free Speech For People. “When considering whether to grant this petition for review, it is essential that the Supreme Court understands that the world’s most respected computer security experts are in agreement that the scientific evidence, confirming the failures and dangers of the AccuVoteTSx, is overwhelming and unequivocal, as articulated in the Amicus brief.” 

Read the amicus brief here.


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