Saturday, June 12, 2004

State Lifts Ban on Orange County E-Voting

By Stuart Pfiefer, Los Angeles Times, June 11, 2004

Orange County became the second county, after Merced, to gain recertification of its paperless, electronic voting system. Merced and Orange counties have both agreed to comply with Secretary of State Kevin Shelley's 23 new security requirements that must be met for paperless electronic systems to be used in California this November.

Among these 23 requirements is one that requires counties to give voters the right to cast a paper ballot at their polling places if they prefer to do so. The recertification rules also require the counties' vendors to provide their source code to the Secretary of State. ES&S, which is Merced's vendor, and Hart Intercivic, Orange's vendor, have agreed to do so.


Excerpts from the LA Times story:

Orange County was the first large county to win the secretary's approval to use electronic balloting in November; Shelley approved Merced County's system Monday.

"They came to Sacramento and answered tough questions. I'm very pleased with their assurances," Shelley said. "One of the conditions of the recertification was that the poll workers be trained in the use of these technologies and that they submit a poll worker training plan. That gives me a level of confidence."


Orange County met the secretary's requirements last month, but the secretary delayed approving its system until Hart agreed to hand over its "source code," the complex software that controls the voting and tabulating machines, so the secretary of state could test it.

Computer scientists who tested the source code of one of Hart's rivals, Diebold Election Systems, produced reports that suggested that system could be vulnerable to manipulation. It was such reports, as well as problems in Orange and other counties in March, that led Shelley to temporarily ban the systems.

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