Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Ohio reverses course, moves to optical scan instead of touchscreen voting equipment

Press statement by J. Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio Secretary of State, January 12, 2005

Last week Ohio's Secretary of State, J. Kenneth Blackwell, announced he is moving to implement paper-based optical scan voting technology statewide. The announcement is a reversal of Blackwell's previous plan to implement electronic voting systems in Ohio. Blackwell was an early supporter of e-voting, but pulled back on implementation prior to the November 2004 election.

Blackwell's change of plans represents a major victory for the election verification movement, since Ohio is a populous state and large-scale purchasing of e-voting machines there would significantly increase the percentage of voters voting on such equipment nationwide. Ohio's legislature passed a voter verified paper trail requirement, but with this change of plans it appears Ohio will satisfy that requirement by having voters cast paper ballots, rather than casting e-ballots with a voter-verified paper record.

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