A little over four months ago, on July 8th, Scoop Media broke a significant international news story about apparent security flaws in the United States voting apparatus - see… Sludge Report #154 – Bigger Than Watergate! & Bev Harris: Inside A U.S. Election Vote Counting Program .
The story broke into the mainstream with a report in the New York Times on July 26th, and since then, as chronicled on Scoop's “A Very American Coup Page”, the story has been growing in intensity by the day.
Today the Californian Secretary of State is reported in the Los Angeles Times ordering that voter verifiable paper ballots (VVPBs) will be made mandatory for the State’s elections from 2006.
While the lateness of this deadline is likely to lead to an ongoing battle for electronic voting activists first over the presidential primaries early next year, and then over the 2004 Presidential election in November, in substance this is a huge victory for the cause of resurrecting some credibility in the United States electoral system. Scoop is delighted to have been able to play a part in bringing this about.
- Scoop Co-Editor Alastair Thompson
E-Votes Must Leave a Paper Trail
By Kim Zetter
03:25 PM Nov. 21, 2003 PT
SAN FRANCISCO -- California will become the first state requiring all electronic voting machines produce a voter-verifiable paper receipt.
The requirement, announced Friday by California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley, applies to all electronic voting systems already in use as well as those currently being purchased. The machines must be retrofitted with printers to produce a receipt by 2006.
With a receipt, voters will be able to verify that their ballots have been properly cast. However, they will not be allowed to keep the receipts, which will be stored at voting precincts and used for a recount if any voting irregularities arise.
Beginning July 1, 2005, counties will not be able to purchase any machine that does not produce a paper trail. As of July 2006, all machines, no matter when they were purchased, must offer a voter-verifiable paper audit trail. This means machines currently in use by four counties in the state will have to be fitted with new printers to meet the requirement.
State Tells Counties to Establish Paper Trail on Electronic Voting
By Allison Hoffman and Tim Reiterman, Times Staff Writers
Secretary of State Kevin Shelley is expected to announce today that as of 2006, all electronic voting machines in California must be able to produce a paper printout that voters can check to make sure their votes are properly recorded.
Late Thursday evening, Shelley placed calls to county elections officials around the state to tell them that any voting system that is currently in use or that is purchased before Jan. 1, 2006, must be modified or replaced to produce a paper trail. After that date, no county will be allowed to buy machines that can't make printouts.
None of the electronic voting systems currently in use in the state can make such a record. Voters who cast ballots using touch-screens, the most common type of electronic voting machine, are prompted to review their choices on a confirmation screen, but they have no way of knowing that those selections are recorded correctly in the microchip "ballot box."