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Voting Technology


The California Voter Foundation's dedication to "promoting and applying the responsible use of technology to improve democracy" makes voting technology a natural focus of CVF's work.

The organization's in-depth involvement in the issue began in 1999, when CVF President Kim Alexander was invited by then-Secretary of State Bill Jones to serve on California's Internet Voting Task Force. The Task Force was the first in the nation to study Internet voting, and its members, also including CVF board member David Jefferson, researched and debated the issue for almost a year.

In January 2000, the Task Force published a report concluding that "at this time, it would not be legally, practically or fiscally feasible to develop a comprehensive remote Internet voting system that would completely replace the current paper process used for voter registration, voting, and the collection of initiative, referendum and recall petition signatures." Throughout 2000, Kim Alexander and David Jefferson discussed the findings of the task force in the media and at various forums, and today are two of the country's most outspoken Internet voting critics.

Following the 2000 presidential election, the focus of the voting technology debate shifted from Internet voting to touch screen voting, which was touted as an immediately available solution to the outdated punch card machines that caused problems in Florida. CVF staff and board members participated in numerous debates and discussions in 2001, spoke and wrote about voting technology, and tracked voting technology legislation at the state and federal levels.

2002 began with a federal court requirement that California replace its punch card voting machines by March 2004. CVF President Kim Alexander closely followed both that decision and the touch screen voting lawsuit in Riverside County throughout the year. CVF also collected information about voting technology "glitches" around the country, monitored the activity of California's new Voting Modernization Board, and published the first version of CVF's County-by-County Directory of California Voting Systems in 2002.

In January 2003 CVF adopted an official position supporting a voter verified paper trail requirement to back up electronic ballots. In February 2003, Secretary of State Kevin Shelley convened a new voting technology task force and invited both Kim Alexander and David Jefferson to serve on the committee. The Ad Hoc Touch Screen Voting Task Force completed its work and published its report in July 2003. The touch screen debate intensified in the second half of 2003, and news coverage of the risks of paperless voting increased after the publication of a number of reports raising serious technical and security concerns.

CVF will continue to monitor and report on voting technology developments and direct people to helpful resources throughout 2004. To keep up-to-date on voting technology changes and news, read CVF-NEWS and Kim Alexander's web log, and check the voting technology resources page often for new information and featured publications.

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This page was first published on February 12, 2004 | Last updated on December 6, 2011
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