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A whistleblowing computer programmer is suing an electronic-voting company, alleging that it fired him because he intended to expose major flaws in its touchscreen voting software. Daniel Spillane’s lawsuit, filed Feb. 25 in King County, Wash., alleges several flaws in VoteHere’s software, including unfinished code, software that fails to properly record votes and an inability to double-check results because of the lack of a paper trail. In an e-mail Feb. 26 to The Associated Press, a spokeswoman for Bellevue, Wash.-based VoteHere said the lawsuit had “no merit” but would not elaborate. Some computer scientists have decried touchscreen voting machines as vulnerable to rigging and malfunction, even as hundreds of counties nationwide rushed to buy touchscreen terminals following the 2000 presidential election debacle. VoteHere is a relatively minor player in touchscreen machines. It is better known for its work developing Internet voting systems in the United States and Europe; that work is not at issue in the lawsuit. Spillane, 38, of Seattle, said Feb. 26 that VoteHere’s software may have botched election results wherever it was used. The company would not say how many polling places have installed its products, but the lawsuit alleges that they have been approved for use in touchscreen terminals in Georgia and elsewhere. “I don’t think there’s massive voter fraud going on,” said Spillane, who was fired in 2001. “But I do believe that … the checks and balances in the election process have been erased over the years.” Spillane said he was fired hours before he was to meet with officials from the Independent Test Authority, a private organization that certifies voting software, and the General Accounting Office, Congress’ nonpartisan watchdog agency, which was reviewing ITA policies. The lawsuit seeks at least $475,000 in lost wages and other damages. Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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