Updated February 20, 2006








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James P. Tucker Jr.

Half the states will require “paper trail” voting machines or require that ballots be cast only on paper in this year’s November elections, reports electionline.org, a vote watchdog web site.

“Across the country, steps are being taken to modernize the nation’s elections systems, but a number of problems—expected and unforeseen—have stalled some of these efforts,” said Doug Chapin, in releasing the report in Washington Feb. 7. Chapin is the director of electionline.org.

“Twenty-five states will either require the use of paper audit trails with e-voting machines or require that a ballot be cast only on paper,” the group reported.

“The lack of progress in nearly half the states throws into doubt whether HAVA’s goals can be achieved in time for the November 2006 vote,” Chapin said, referring to the Help America Vote Act. He cited examples:

• “In New York, continued inaction has left localities scrambling to replace lever machines on a short timetable. And the required statewide database has yet to be implemented—with no contract to a vendor even awarded as yet.

• “In California, concerns about voting machines have left some counties with warehouses full of new e-voting machines deemed unsuitable for elections.

• “In Ohio, the state legislature is fighting over voter identification requirements.”

“The changes that have occurred in the states—and those that have not—could have a profound influence on the 2006 election and beyond,” Chapin said.

The call for paper-trail balloting is gaining ground today. This important reform was first proposed by the now-defunct Spotlight newspaper. Since then, American Free Press has been carrying the torch.

(Issue #9, February 27, 2006)

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