ILNews

COA rules against voting-systems company

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

ADVERTISEMENT