Voting rights: U.S. Law
Under the 15th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Sec. 8 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act: Qualified voters have the right to vote and have their vote counted properly. Does an electronic vote constitute a legal vote? Or is it just circumstantial evidence of a vote produced by a machine that may or may not have been cast by a voter.
Enforcement of the Voting Rights Act under the Fourteen and Fifteenth Amendment are at the heart of the constitutional issue involving the use of voting machines. Regarding the 14th Amendment, voting machines appear to constitute a secret or 'concealed' registration and tabulation of the vote which cannot be observed by Federal Examiners (as authorized under federal law), which makes the examiner's role in that regard - moot, and federal law - unenforceable. Therefore, all voting machines may be a violation of U.S. Code: Title 42 - The Public Health and Welfare, Chapter 20 - Elective Franchise, Subchapter I-A Enforcement of Voting Rights, Sec. 1973.
CASE LAW: The right to have your vote CAST and COUNTED properly:
In Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court said that, A "legal vote," as determined by the Supreme Court, is "one in which there is a 'clear indication of the intent of the voter.'" How can voting machines, either mechanical or electronic, produce tangible evidence of the intent of the voter? Voting machines reflect the action of the machine first, and the intent of the voter ...maybe. The Court goes on to ask "whether the use of standardless manual recounts violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses." They answer, "With respect to the equal protection question, we find a violation of the Equal Protection Clause." How would the Court view voting machines where no mandatory federal standards exist to guarantee that the intent of the voter is reflected in the result produced by voting machines?
Allen v. Board of Elections (1969) "The Act further provides that the term "voting" "shall include all action necessary to make a vote effective in any primary, special, or general election, including, but not limited to, registration, listing . . . or other action required by law prerequisite to voting, casting a ballot, and having such ballot counted properly and included in the appropriate totals of votes cast with respect to candidates for public [393 U.S. 544, 564] or party office and propositions for which votes are received in an election." 14 (c) (1), 79 Stat. 445, 42 U.S.C. 1973l (c) (1) (1964 ed., Supp. I)."
Reynolds v Sims (1964) "Undeniably the Constitution of the United States protects the right of all qualified citizens to vote, in state as well as in federal elections. A consistent line of decisions by this Court in cases involving attempts to deny or restrict the right of suffrage has made this indelibly clear. It has been repeatedly recognized that all qualified voters have a constitutionally protected right to vote, Ex parte Yarbrough, 110 U.S. 651 , and to have their votes counted, United States v. Mosley, 238 U.S. 383 . In Mosley the Court stated that it is "as equally unquestionable that the right to have one's vote counted is as open to protection . . . as the right to put a ballot in a box." 238 U.S., [377 U.S. 533, 555] at 386. The right to vote can neither be denied outright, Guinn v. United States, 238 U.S. 347 , Lane v. Wilson, 307 U.S. 268 , nor destroyed by alteration of ballots, see United States v. Classic, 313 U.S. 299, 315 , nor diluted by ballot-box stuffing, Ex parte Siebold, 100 U.S. 371 , United States v. Saylor, 322 U.S. 385 . As the Court stated in Classic, "Obviously included within the right to choose, secured by the Constitution, is the right of qualified voters within a state to cast their ballots and have them counted . . . ." 313 U.S., at 315."
Wesberry v. Sanders (1964) "It is in the light of such history that we must construe Art. I, 2, of the Constitution, which, carrying out the ideas of Madison and those of like views, provides that Representatives shall be chosen "by the People of the several States" and shall be "apportioned among the several States . . . according to their respective Numbers." It is not surprising that our Court has held that this Article gives persons qualified to vote a constitutional right to vote and to have their votes counted."
RECOUNTS: Roudebush v. Hartke, 405 U.S. 15 (1972) is about the right to contest an election. This is not directly related to voting machines vs paper ballots, however, it does establish the right to a recount of ballots. No voting machines allows for that. The paper trails produced, even by the old fashioned lever machines, were a record of what the machine did, not the voter. Any machine can be rigged to accept one input, record another, and produce a third and different output. The electronic information voting machines produce does not constitute a genuine audit trail.