By Ian Hoffman, Alameda Newspaper Group, June 16, 2004
By Kim Zetter, Wired News, June 15, 2004
California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley has issued standards for an accessible, voter verified paper audit trail. California is the first state in the nation to issue such standards, which will give vendors the guidance and direction they need to develop this essential voting security feature. The standards have been in development throughout this year and reflect many of the recommendations made by the Secretary of State's Ad Hoc Touch Screen Task Force, which I served on last year.
The standards and a news release are available from the Secretary of State's web site.
Excerpts from Kim Zetter's story:
"California is making sure that voters will be able to verify that their votes are being counted correctly," Shelley said in a statement. "I call upon (federal election officials) to follow my lead and establish nationwide testing and qualification standards for (paper-trail verified) systems as soon as possible."
Under the standards, the voter-verified paper trail would consist of a printout that voters could examine to confirm that the machine recorded their vote accurately. Voters wouldn't be able to touch the paper receipt or leave the polls with it. Instead, the paper record would likely roll behind a glass partition, allowing the voter to accept or reject the choices presented on the ballot. Voters would be able to discard inaccurate ballots and have correct ones transferred to a secure ballot box.
According to the standards, paper-trail systems would be designed so that disabled voters, including those who can't see, could cast ballots and verify their vote in private without assistance. For non-English speakers, the records would be printed in the voter's preferred language and English for election officials.
Excerpts from Ian Hoffman's story:
California approved the nation's first standards Tuesday for a paper record to be produced by electronic voting machines and verified by voters.
Congress and at least 20 states are debating laws requiring that electronic voting machines produce a "voter-verified paper trail" so voters can be sure their electronic vote was properly recorded and so local officials would have something to recount.
But no one is certain what such a paper trail would look like, although about a half-dozen voting-system vendors have developed or are working on e-voting machines that generate a printout.
"California is at the forefront of the movement toward a paper trail and these standards help lead the way," said Kim Alexander, a paper-trail advocate and president of the Davis-based California Voter Foundation.
In an ordinary election, the electronic ballot would still serve as the record of a voter's intent. But in the event of a recount, the paper record, having been verified personally by the voter, would become the ballot and resolve election challenges "unless there is clear evidence that the paper record copy is inaccurate, incomplete or unreadable."
Clearing up the language, handicapped accessibility and legal role of the new paper records were among the largest unknowns of a paper trail.