Wednesday, April 21, 2004
The California Secretary of State has commissioned a Voting Systems Panel to decide whether or not to decertify electronic "touch screen" voting machines for the upcoming November election. Some counties in California have led the country in adopting these new machines, which are similar in many ways to ATM machines. But, there have been many problems with the machines so far. Some counties have had problems programming the "smart cards" that voters need to insert into machines to pull up their correct ballots. Orange County had pollworkers giving some voters the incorrect smart cards, so they cast votes in districts other than where the lived. There are also indications that some machines had been programmed with "patches" that had not been certified by the Secretary of State. Some of these problems could be alleviated if, like ATMs, the voting machines printed out a paper receipt that the voter could look at to ensure that their vote was correctly recorded. Then, in cases of disputed results, these receipts could be used for recounts.
Many citizens, organized by groups like Black Box Voting and True Majority and the California Voter Foundation showed up for hearings held by the Voting Systems Panel today in Sacramento.