Lawsuit Filed Over Last Minute Software Changes Made to Ohio Vote Counting Machines

On Monday, Ohio Green party co-chairman Fitrakis filed a federal lawsuit over software that was allegedly installed on central vote tabulation machines in 39 counties in Ohio without being tested or certified for use as required by state law.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. Fitrakis was seeking the court's immediate intervention in getting Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to remove the software from the tabulation machines.

The software was installed in the weeks leading up to the election, and was reportedly installed on machines that will be used to count ballots cast by more than 4 million registered voters, including those in Cleveland and Columbus.

Memos from the the Ohio Secretary of State's office indicate that this software was never tested because of claims that it is not involved with the tabulation or communication of votes. The software patches were deemed "experimental" by Husted office, and was thus made exempt from Ohio's testing and certification requirements.

Under Ohio law, untested software updates on voting machines are illegal, but last minute "experimental" patches on some, but not all, machines is permitted and doesn't require certificatino or testing.

Fitrakis said that he filed the lawsuit because Ohio laws make it clear that all software loaded onto election systems must be previously tested and certified. Husted's office had made it appear that the software update was so minor that testing wasn't needed. State and federal laws, however, do not provide such an exception.

The biggest concern with using untested software is that there is no way to know how susceptible it may be to tampering or hacking.