Monday, April 24, 2006

The #1 Threat to Republican Hegemony 

Via Zemblan patriot J.D.: The 32% approval rating is certainly heartening, but we won't begin to feel confident about recapturing Congress or the White House until this welcome trend catches on:
One of the first counties in the state to embrace electronic voting is headed back to paper -- and it's not the only one.

Alameda County residents going to the polls June 6 will be asked for the first time in five years to fill in ovals on paper ballots rather than casting their votes on costly touch-screen machines . . . .

The decision to go back to paper stems from changes in state law that toughen requirements for touch-screen machines and render the county's equipment inadequate.

Merced and Plumas counties also will switch back to paper ballots. And earlier this week Los Angeles officials agreed to upgrade their current optical scan system that counts paper ballots instead of spending more than $100 million to buy a touch-screen system . . . .

While it is not the first Bay Area county to go back to paper -- Solano County did the same after its machines were decertified in November 2003 -- Alameda County is especially interesting because it was the first in the region to move to electronic voting and the second in the state behind Riverside County.

The county purchased its now-outdated Diebold electronic voting system for $12 million in 2001. However, the equipment had glitches. Diebold eventually agreed in 2004 to pay the state and Alameda County $2.6 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that it made false claims when it sold its equipment to the county.

The settlement came after local and state officials found that Diebold had installed uncertified software in the county's touch-screen machines and that its system was vulnerable to computer hackers. County elections officials also found the system's vote-tabulating program gave several thousand absentee votes to the wrong candidate during the October 2003 gubernatorial recall election.

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