From: Senator Debra Bowen's Office
Contact: Evan Goldberg (916) 651-4028
SACRAMENTO – “People need and deserve to know their votes have been counted accurately, and the best way to ensure that happens is to use the paper printout that the voter has already verified as being accurate and check it against the results tallied by the electronic machine.”
That’s how Senator Debra Bowen (D-Redondo Beach), the chairwoman of the Senate Elections, Reapportionment & Constitutional Amendments Committee responded to the Governor’s decision to sign SB 370 into law tonight.
“This isn’t complicated, either you care about whether the election results are accurate or you don’t,” said Bowen. “I don’t see how the Secretary of State, who led the opposition to the bill, could say with straight face that he’s for fair elections, he’s for having a paper trail on electronic voting machines, yet he’s against using that paper trail to ensure the accuracy of the vote count.”
California law requires all electronic voting machines to be equipped with an accessible voter-verified paper audit trail (AVVPAT) as of January 1, 2006. Under a separate 40-year-old California law, elections officials are required to conduct a public manual tally of the ballots cast in at least 1% of the precincts chosen at random to check the accuracy of votes tabulated by an electronic or mechanical voting system. SB 370 requires elections officials to use the AVVPAT to comply with California’s 1% manual law and to use the AVVPAT it in the event of a recount.
The California Association of Clerks & Elections Officials opposed SB 370 even though it noted that the “. . . the possibility exists that the [DRE’s] internal audit trail . . . could be programmed to print different results.”
“That’s precisely why it was critical for the Governor to sign this bill,” continued Bowen. “When the very elections officials who are buying these machines admit the election results can be manipulated and oppose a bill designed to audit the machine’s results, you’ve really got to wonder whose side they’re on. I’m glad the Governor realizes the importance of an accurate vote count, I just wish his Secretary of State shared that conviction and didn’t think tallying the results quickly was more important.”