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Lehto and Wells v. Sequoia and Snohomish County

On April 7, 2005, Paul Lehto and John Wells filed a lawsuit in King County Superior Court against Sequoia Voting Systems, Inc. and Snohomish County, Washington.

The brief introduction follows, with highlighting added.


1.1 This case arises out a dispute concerning a contract between defendants Snohomish County and Sequoia Voting Systems, Inc. for the purchase of Sequoia touch-screen voting computers employed in the 2004 elections (hereinafter “the Contract”). The Contract is appended hereto as Appendix ‘A.’ Plaintiffs make claims under the Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act [RCW 7.24.010 et seq.] for specific declarations respecting the Contract and its provisions and for such other and further relief as may be necessary or proper.

1.2 Plaintiffs Wells and Lehto, as citizens and voters, object to provisions of the contract between Snohomish County and Sequoia Voting Systems, Inc. attempting to shield from public view and verification the means by which votes are recorded, counted, tabulated, and reported on the grounds that they contain “trade secret,” “confidential,” or “proprietary” materials. Plaintiffs contend, among other things, that provisions of the contract ought properly to be set aside based upon contractual, statutory, Constitutional and public policy grounds.

1.3 This case implicates questions concerning the proper balance to be struck between a free people and their government, recognizing the inherent tension between appropriate delegation of regulatory and administrative functions respecting the conduct of elections by the people to the agencies of their government, on the one hand, and the danger that lack of transparent, accurate, and verifiable elections could undermine accountability and lead to rule by self-perpetuating incumbents with the resulting damage to our democracy, on the other.

1.4 Access to Sequoia Voting Systems, Inc. information is essential to insure the transparency and verifiability of elections at the precise nexus of the exercise of the voting franchise (vote counting) and the essential legitimacy of government (i.e. election results). Accordingly, the court must apply strict scrutiny to all acts or contracts tending to impair the right of the people to supervise and review their elections in order that public confidence is sustained respecting the accuracy, integrity, transparency, and verifiability of voting systems. Such scrutiny supports the public policy of Washington State, as stated in RCW 42.30.010:

The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.

1.5 This action seeks to vindicate the proposition that no contract, public or private, shall be permitted to undermine Article I, Section 1 of the Washington Constitution: “all political power is inherent in the people”. Plaintiffs seek relief herein based upon past damages sustained and the threat of future injury.

Jan 27, 2006. Proposed Order Granting Sequoia's Motion to Dismiss (46 KB pdf)

Jan 27, 2006. Sequoia's Motion to Dismiss (2.3 MB pdf)

Jan 27, 2006. Sequoia's Request for Judicial Notice of Facts in Support of their Motion to Dismiss (Sequoia - 3 MB pdf)

Jan 27, 2006. Motion and Declaration for Authority from the Court to Extend Length of Motion to Dismiss (Sequoia - 71 KB pdf)

August 8, 2005. Decision of the Judge on the Remand Motion (100 KB pdf)

July 7, 2005. Reply of Plaintiff on Motion to Remand (Lehto - 426 KB pdf)

July 5, 2005. Douglas Morrill Declaration [in opposition to remand] (40 KB pdf)

July 5, 2005. Gordon Sivley Declaration [in opposition to remand] (38 KB pdf)

July 5, 2005. Malcolm Harris Declaration [in opposition to remand] (38 KB pdf)

July 5, 2005. Peter McManemy [Sequoia CFO] Declaration [in opposition to remand] (160 KB pdf)

July 5, 2005. Snohomish's Joinder in Sequoia's Brief in Opposition to Remand Motion (34 KB pdf)

July 5, 2005. Sequoia's Brief in Opposition to Remand Motion (80 KB pdf)

June 27, 2005. Supplemental Response to the Motions to Dismiss. (Lehto - 412 KB pdf)

June 10, 2005. Motion to Remand. (Lehto - 108 KB pdf)

June 6, 2005. Response to the Motions to Dismiss. (Lehto - 117 KB pdf)

May 18, 2005. Sequoia's Motion to Dismiss or Strike Portions of the Complaint. (Sequoia - 575 KB pdf)

May 18, 2005. Snohomish County's Motion to Dismiss. (Snohomish - 141 KB pdf)

May 11, 2005. Notice of Removal to Federal Court. (Sequoia - 195 KB pdf)

May 11, 2005. Notice of Removal, to Plaintiffs. (Sequoia - 84 KB pdf)

April 7, 2005. Full text of the lawsuit. (Lehto - 179 KB pdf)

Appendix A. "Agreement Between Snohomish County, Washington and Sequoia Voting Systems, Inc. for the Purchase of the AVC Edge Electronic Voting System" (2 MB pdf)

Appendix B. "Election Irregularities in Snohomish County, Washington, General Election 2004" (700 KB pdf - updated 11/17/08)

Jan 6, 2005 Press Release. Evidence Of Election Irregularities In Snohomish County, Washington, General Election, 2004

Email Transcribing Sec. State Reed on Proposed Sequoia Voting Machine Purchase

Result slip for machine 18046 showing votes but a counter equal to zero.

Democracy is not something you believe in
or a place to hang your hat,
but it's something you do.
You participate.
If you stop doing it, democracy crumbles.
~ Abbie Hoffman

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