John Myers points out a lawsuit against Bruce McPhereson in his capacity as Secretary of State. The case deals primarily with disabled voters and a provision of HAVA (Help America Vote Act of 2002) which calls for at least one accessible voting machine at each precinct. The suit alleges that several counties’ voting machines were not accessible without assistance, infringing the voters’ interest in a secret ballot.
At the very least, the lawsuit will force a re-examination of how California is complying with the federal HAVA requirements. It also will force an examination of how the Secretary of State certifies some of these voting machines. Plaintiff’s attorney John McDermott says it was McPherson’s job, as a condition of certifying machines, “to insure accessibility for all people, to the maximum extent feasible. And that didn’t occur.” Capitol Notes
Do I think McPherson is actually trying to make it harder for disabled voters to vote? Honestly, no. But the process itself is messed up. We need a whole new system of certification for our voting machines, and a whole new viewpoint on how to do that. Debra Bowen understands these issues better than any other major political figure in the state.
One of the things that mystifies me about the CTA’s endorsement of McPherson is the sentiment that I have heard expressed that CTA just wanted to endorse a Republican, and this was the only position where they felt they wouldn’t get hurt too badly. But, as we can see from this story, there can be GOP malfeasance and incompetence in every position. And, does the CTA have such a short memory that they forgot the names Ken Blackwell and Katherine Harris, two secretaries of state who, in Ohio in 2004 and Florida in 2000, respectively, helped plot Bush’s victory. Now, it’s doubtful that California will be in play in 2008, but do we really want to risk having a GOP Secretary of State if that is the case? The role is vitally important, whether or not the CTA understands that.