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COA rules against voting-systems company

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court order denying an electronic voting systems company's petition for stay on an order prohibiting it from marketing, selling, or leasing voting systems in Indiana for 18 months.

MicroVote General Corp. provided election equipment and electronic voting systems to 47 counties in Indiana. Under revised Indiana Code Section 3-11-7.5-28(a), the company's systems would become decertified by Oct. 1, 2005, and the systems had to be recertified. MicroVote continued to execute contracts, market its equipment, and install uncertified equipment before becoming re-certified.

The Office of Indiana Secretary of State and the Indiana Election Division instituted separate administrative proceedings claiming MicroVote violated statute by servicing customers after its equipment was decertified. The OSS proceedings recommended a financial punishment. The Indiana Election Commission, which ruled on the IED claim, issued a final order after the OSS initiated proceedings. The IEC prohibited MicroVote from selling, leasing, or marketing its systems in Indiana for 18 months with additional reporting requirements for 3 ½ years thereafter.

In MicroVote General Corp. v. Indiana Election Commission, No. 49A02-0910-CV-975, MicroVote appealed the denial of its verified petition for judicial review. The company claimed IEC should have dismissed the proceedings before it based on res judicata and collateral estoppel grounds.

The trial court held the matter wasn't or couldn't have been determined in a prior action, but the Court of Appeals found MicroVote did satisfy this requirement of res judicata. There was identical evidence offered to support both claims and the only factual difference was the penalty imposed, wrote Judge Patricia Riley.

MicroVote didn't meet the last requirement for res judicata - that the controversy adjudicated in the former action must have been between the parties to the present suit or their privies. It is true that the IED is a division of the OSS, but the two entities have separate authorities.

"While the OSS and the IED both have duties related to Indiana's elections, their respective duties are significantly different," wrote the judge. "Statutorily, the OSS cannot order the sanctions provided for in I.C. § 3-11-7.5-28 and the IEC could not order the penalties provided for in I.C. § 3-11-17-3."

The appellate court also found no error in the application of the offensive collateral estoppel in the proceedings before the IEC. MicroVote had a full and fair opportunity to litigate the issue of its violations and allowing the company to now re-litigate the issue would be unfair under the circumstances.

In addition, the IEC's final order didn't impose penalties and conditions that exceed its statutory authority. The discretionary nature of Indiana's election law statute, combined with the Indiana Administrative Orders and Procedures Act, empowers the IEC to sanction a vendor for violating I.C. § 3-11-7.5-28 without de-certifying the vendor's voting equipment.

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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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