Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Nevada Secretary of State invites nation to observe the paper trail in action

Nevada Secretary of State Dean Heller press release, July 29, 2004

This November, Nevada will be the one state in the nation that uses electronic voting machines with a voter verified paper trail. Nevada has contracted with Sequoia to produce a touchscreen voting machine with a printer attached, which will allow voters to view and confirm a paper version of their voted ballot prior to leaving the polls.

Two other jurisdictions in the nation have utilized the voter verified paper trail in live elections, but Nevada is the first state to implement this reform statewide. In all but one of Nevada's counties, Sequoia touchscreens with a voter verified paper trail will be utilized; in Clark County, home to Las Vegas and 70 percent of the state's population, earlier models of Sequoia's electronic voting machines will be used which were purchased several years ago and are reportedly difficult to retrofit. In Clark County, one touchscreen with a voter verified paper trail will be provided in each polling place in addition to other electronic voting machines without a paper trail.

Secretary of State Heller has invited election officials and the media to Las Vegas on Saturday, August 28 to observe the debut of the paper trail in Nevada, which will be put into use as early voting gets underway for the state's Sept. 7 primary.

Previous elections where touchscreens with a voter verified paper trail were utilized include Sacramento County's November 2002 election, where 1600 early voters, including me, cast ballots on Avante touchscreens with a paper trail. I reported on that system and my experience using it in an October 2002 edition of CVF-NEWS.

In addition, the town of Southington, Connecticut conducted a municipal election with the Avante touchscreens and paper trail in 2003. The Registrar of Voters prepared this report summarizing their experience and concluded "we are convinced that using the Avante machines will eliminate problems rather than add to them."

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