Monday, November 22, 2004

Registrar seeks to halt check of electronic voting

By Michael Coronado, Riverside Press-Enterprise

The strangest thing about this story is that neither the reporter nor the county of Riverside appears to be aware of the fact that the voter verified paper trail is now a requirement in law in California. The entire California legislature, including those members who represent Riverside County, voted to pass a law, which Governor Schwarzenegger signed in September, to require that a voter verified paper record back up every digital ballot cast by the next statewide election.



Riverside County Registrar Barbara Dunmore will ask Secretary of State Kevin Shelley to re-examine an agreement that requires counties using electronic voting terminals to provide a paper printout by 2006.

Dunmore said Monday that the success of the state's parallel monitoring program during the November election showed why the paper trail is not needed.

"I think that the parallel monitoring and the small number of paper ballots requested at the polls show that voters in this county are comfortable with our process and confident with our machines," she said.

Under an agreement reached with the secretary of state, counties using electronic voting were required to participate in a parallel monitoring program on election day.


In Riverside County, six state monitors randomly chose two of the county's electronic voting terminals which tested and cast votes in a simulation for 13 hours while recording the results using a video camera.

About 1.1 percent of county voters requested paper ballots at their local polling place. That's about 3,719 of 351,418 ballots cast on election day, Dunmore said.

Supervisor Bob Buster last week called the paper ballots a waste of taxpayer expense.

Dunmore said the county under state law is required to store the estimated 125,000 paper ballots for 22 months. Then those ballots must be destroyed, adding another expense Dunmore said.

The secretary of state's full report for all counties is due out later this month and will again prove why Riverside County's voting machines are accurate and secure, Dunmore said.

"It shows that this (paper ballots) was an unnecessary option in our county," she said.

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