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Gov. Schwarzenegger signs CA paper trail bill into law

September 28, 2004

Hi Folks,

Great news to share -- California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed SB 1438 into law. This bill, co-authored by Senators Ross Johnson (R-Orange) and Don Perata (D-Alameda) requires there to be a voter verified paper record to back up every electronic ballot cast in California by 2006 Primary election.

California is the first state in the nation where paperless, electronic voting systems have been widely deployed that is requiring by law that the machines be retrofitted or replaced. With the enactment of SB 1438, California continues to lead the nation on electronic voting reform.

Two other states -- New Hampshire and Oregon -- have laws that mandate the use of voting systems that allow for manual recounts. Illinois passed a law that requires a voter verified paper trail for e-voting machines once that state begins purchasing them. Five Secretaries of State have elected to implement the voter verified paper trail. The first to do so is Dean Heller of Nevada, who is implementing the paper trail this election season. In addition, the Secretaries of State in Washington, Missouri, California, and Ohio will require the paper trail by 2006.

Although paper trail legislation was introduced in as many as 20 states this year, it appears that California is the only state so far to enact a paper trail law. SB 1438 essentially codifies California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley's November 2003 and April 2004 security directives, and advances the deadline for implementing the paper trail by one election. Under the Secretary of State's orders, California would have the paper trail by the November 2006 election. SB 1438 ensures the paper trail will be in place for the 2006 Primary.

The new law also prohibits the Secretary of State from certifying any new, paperless electronic voting systems after January 1, 2005, and prohibits counties from purchasing such systems after January 1, 2006.

Proclaimed "dead" just last month, SB 1438 was brought back to life by its authors in the 11th hour of the legislative session, and sailed out of the Legislature on unanimous votes of both houses.

For past CVF-NEWS updates on SB 1438, click here.

-- Kim Alexander, California Voter Foundation

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This page was first published on September 28, 2004 | Last updated on January 27, 2006
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