FROM:   Saskia Mills, CVF Executive Director
DATE:   September 19, 2001
RE:   CA voting tech developments

Hi Folks,

There have been two important voting technology developments in California in recent days. On Friday the legislature passed AB 56, the Voting Modernization Bond Act of 2002, which would place a $200 million bond measure on the March 2002 ballot, and now awaits action by the governor.

In addition, Secretary of State Bill Jones issued a news release yesterday announcing his plans to de-certify both the Votomatic and Pollstar punch card voting systems by January of 2006.

Both developments are detailed in the article below, from today's San Francisco Chronicle. CVF president Kim Alexander just returned from a conference in Spain and will have more analysis about these developments shortly.

-- Saskia Mills, Executive Director
California Voter Foundation, (530) 750-7650

Move to make California a chad-free state by 2006;
$200 million for new voting machines

by Robert Salladay Chronicle Sacramento Bureau
Wednesday, September 19, 2001

online at:

Sacramento -- A ballot measure would spend $200 million to replace the state's outmoded, Nixon-era voting machines and reimburse Alameda County for its expected purchase of thousands of touch-screen voting computers scheduled to be installed by the next big election.

The Legislature approved the potential bond measure on the final day of its 2001 session last week and sent the bill to Gov. Gray Davis. The Democratic governor has not said whether he will sign the measure, which would ask California voters in March to approve the cash infusion for new voting technology.

The pending decision by Davis comes as Secretary of State Bill Jones said yesterday he would "decertify" thousands of punch-card machines still being used by 8.5 million voters in nine California counties, including Los Angeles, Alameda, Santa Clara and Mendocino.

The point, Jones said, is to make California chad-free by 2006 at the latest. The decertification means that counties must, over the next four years, replace their punch-card systems with touch-screen voting computers or optical scan ballots.

"We cannot wait for a Florida-style election debacle to occur in California before we replace archaic voting systems," Jones said.

Alameda County already is moving to replace its 6,000 Votomatic machines that it purchased in 1968. The old machines still work well, said County Registrar of Voters Brad Clark, but it's impossible to find replacement parts.

During the last presidential election, only 1.5 percent of Alameda County ballots were "undercount" or "overcount," meaning people either declined to vote or accidentally voted for two candidates in a particular race, or the machine incorrectly read the punch card that way.

The county, which has 693,000 registered voters, is negotiating to purchase between $11 million and $12 million worth of touch-screen voting machines that could be working by November 2002.

E-mail Robert Salladay at
Copyright 2001 SF Chronicle

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This page was first published on September 19, 2001 | Last updated on September 19, 2001
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