San Juan County Lawsuit — VoteHere Ballot Tracking Software

Tim White, from the San Juan County Greens updates the story that is unfolding in San Juan County where Green Party members are suing the county over the use of ballot tracking software that compromises the integrity of the secret ballot:

November 15th, 2006 at 1:22 pm

Here’s an update on the early Nov comment reporting Green Party suit against San Juan County, WA, for violating secret ballot law by using VoteHere’s Mail-in Ballot Tracker to link each ballot’s unique barcode to the identity of the voter assigned that ballot.

The lawsuit is currently front page news in San Juan Co:

The original post here misidentified the locale as Island County, which shares the lawsuit’s Superior Court jurisdiction with the smaller San Juan County. [Editor’s Note… Oops]

Additional info, including San Juan Public Access TV Special Report, text of suit, at

Here’s the press release:

Voters file lawsuit alleging San Juan County Auditor’s Office use of ballot tracking software illegal.
Friday Harbor WA (Nov. 2, 2006) Today local Green Party members filed a lawsuit in San Juan County Superior Court challenging the legality of ballots tracked with personal ID bar codes. San Juan County was the first county in the country to implement a ballot tracking system using a bar code on each individual’s ballot to uniquely identify the voter. In the current General Electron, the software is deployed in as many as 29 Washington counties.

County citizens are rejecting their personal ballot bar codes in multiple letters to the editor, by blacking them out, cutting them off, and perhaps not voting at all. Turnout has plummeted. The local paper’s feature editorial has condemned the system. One of the County’s two Auditor candidates is calling for its abandonment.

Allan Rosato and Tim White of the Elections Working Group of the Green Party of San Juan County explained their action in a statement released today:

We filed this suit as a measure of last resort. During the County’s first six all-mail elections over the past 12 months, we’ve attempted to get action by presentations to the Board of County Commissioners, the new County Council, the Elections Department, the County Elections Canvassing Board, and the County Prosecuting Attorney.

Final word from County officials is that the Courts must decide.

We’re seeking a Superior Court injunction stopping the use of VoteHere Inc.’s uncertified ‘Mail-in Ballot Tracker’ because it violates not only the Secretary of State’s own Washington Administrative Code, but five Washington State laws explicitly prohibiting any distinguishing marks of any kind on any ballot. A key provision of our State Constitution ‘secure[s] to every elector absolute secrecy in preparing and depositing his ballot.’ We contend that what remains of ballot secrecy is contingent, not absolute. We want to vote secret ballots. Period.

Video news clip, lawsuit text, complete story:
Allan Rosato, Orcas, 360-376-2158
Tim White, Orcas, 360-376-5851