I live in Emery County, Utah. Last year our legislature passed a law requiring that all counties use computerized voting machines, but our county clerk, Bruce Funk, is having none of it. The details of his earlier mistrust aren't clear. He may have been reading too much about voting machine problems that are being driven on the internet by groups like Black Box Voting. Anyway, the comissioners made it clear that they have no way to ignore state law and ordered the machines.
When they arrived, Funk took it upon himself to have some outside "experts" come and check out the machines, in consulation with Black Box. He opened the machines and had the county's IT man make some changes and delete some data on the hard drives. Now it's going to cost $40,000 to have them recertified by Diebold.
The story has become a soap-opera, with the clerk resigning and then demanding to withdraw his resignation. Black Box
is portraying Funk as a brave fighter for fair elections, but he more like a conspiracy theorist. But Black Box has promoted the story and it's getting comments from all kinds of activist and lefty websites. Here's a report from Thursday.
My opinion is that Funk is either paranoid about the machines or he's got some other reason to hang on to the old system. He's made threats against other officials that he could get them out of office. Maybe this explains how he would do it. He likes to portray himself a nothing but a conscientious servant of the people, but he's got a reputation for pulling strings behind the scenes to get things done the way he wants to. His behavior here demonstrates how he seems to think he's entitled to make policy for the county. He's done this by coaching the commissioners, telling them he has more authority than he has, and now by blatantly violating state law. Is it criminal? I don't know, but he certainly doesn't sound like he's likely to work with the machines. If I were a commissioner, I'd want him totally isolated from the voting this year. The other day, he was quoted in the paper as saying, " "They can go through and recertify them. I'm still a person who has access to them the next day."