From: Senator Debra Bowen's Office
Contact: Evan Goldberg (916) 651-4028
SACRAMENTO – Despite the fact that 52% of the people in America aren’t confident that their votes are being accurately counted, the Pacific Research Institute (PRI) has come out and blasted the use of an accessible voter-verified paper audit trail (AVVPAT) in California elections.
“It takes the term ‘tone deaf’ to a whole new level,” said Senator Debra Bowen (D-Redondo Beach), the chairwoman of the Senate Elections, Reapportionment & Constitutional Amendments Committee. “Given the scandals involving electronic voting machines and the rising number of California voters who are losing faith in the system, how anyone can come out and say with a straight face, ‘Let’s trust the voting machine vendors, they know what they’re doing’ is beyond me.”
PRI recently released a report entitled “PRI Highlights California’s Top 10 Policy Blunders of 2005.” Number Nine on the list is SB 370 (Bowen), which was signed into law last year. The report states:
Requiring paper trail recounts for e-voting machines – Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 370 (Bowen), a legislative lemon that may force Californians to relive the mistakes of America’s punchcard voting past. By forgoing the benefits of new electronic voting machines and enlisting voter paper trails in mandatory manual recounts, SB 370 will make election voting in California increasingly difficult and negate the original virtues of e-voting: speed, cost savings, and efficiency.
The full report is at: http://www.pacificresearch.org/pub/sab/techno/2005/CA2005Blunders1.pdf.
“The Help America Vote Act wasn’t designed to save money or make voting and vote tallying faster or more efficient, it was supposed to ensure people’s votes are counted as they’re cast and give disabled voters the ability to vote independently,” continued Bowen. “I’m not willing to sacrifice the accuracy of the vote count just to get the votes tallied more quickly and I doubt anyone outside of PRI would either.”
SB 1438 (Johnson) required every electronic voting machine to have an AVVPAT after January 1, 2006. SB 370 (Bowen), which was signed into law in 2005, requires elections officials to use the AVVPAT to conduct the 1% manual audit of the vote that’s been required in California for 40 years.
“The list of electronic voting machine irregularities gets longer with every passing election, which is precisely why we need to have a paper trail attached to every electronic voting machine and use that paper trail to audit the computer results of each election,” concluded Bowen. “Honest and open elections are the foundation of our democracy, which means we need to do away with this ‘Trust us, we know what we’re doing’ approach PRI, the voting machine vendors and the Secretary of State are taking with our voting systems.”