Saturday, March 13, 2004 - Calif. senators want decertification of e-vote systems

Calif. senators want decertification of e-vote systems
By Anna Oberthur, Associated Press

SACRAMENTO — Citing problems in last week's primary election, two leading senators Thursday asked the secretary of state to decertify the use of touch-screen voting systems for the upcoming November election.
"California has a lemon law which protects consumers if they buy an automobile that doesn't work. So far, electronic voting in California is a lemon. It needs to be fixed," said Sen. Ross Johnson, R-Irvine.

Electronic voting machines have been controversial almost since their invention. Some computer scientists say the systems leave elections vulnerable to hackers, while other critics say that because most electronic voting terminals do not produce paper records, there's no way to ensure accurate recounts.

There's also a concern that system problems in California could lead to voter confusion like that surrounding the 2000 presidential election in Florida.

In the March 2 statewide election, where 14 counties used touch-screen voting systems, the number of system failures was "alarming," said Sen. Don Perata, D-Oakland.

Perata cited San Diego County, where touch screens failed to start properly, causing delays up to two hours in some polling places.



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