Wednesday, May 12, 2004

San Bernardino County to defy state order on e-voting

(05-12) 05:29 PDT SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP)

Election officials in San Bernardino County say they will defy a ban on electronic voting ordered by Secretary of State Kevin Shelley in November's presidential election.

County Supervisor Dennis Hansberger said Tuesday that Shelley had previously encouraged counties to move toward electronic voting and was rash to change paths after many counties had invested in the new technology.

"If you really disagree with us, you tell us to stop," Hansberger said. "But have the court tell us that, because we were acting on your prior authorization."

The move comes as other counties joined a federal lawsuit filed by Riverside County that challenges the ban on touch-screen voting machines.

Doug Stone, a spokesman for Shelley, said the secretary of state intended to work with San Bernardino County officials to help them meet his directives. Under state law, all election equipment must be approved by the secretary of state, he said.

Shelley issued the order late last month after problems at polling stations in the March 2 election.

In Orange County, about 2,000 voters cast ballots in the wrong races after being given the wrong computer access codes. In San Diego County, an equipment malfunction prevented more than half the polling places from opening on time. And in San Bernardino County, a vote tally was delayed for three hours because election staffers improperly entered data into their main computer.

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