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For Immediate Release, Thursday, February 19, 2004
Contact: Kim Alexander or Rachel Zenner
(916) 441-2494, (530) 750-7650, or

Voter Group Issues Warning on Electronic Voting Systems, Urges Use of Absentee Ballots in Certain Counties

Absentee Ballot Request Deadline is February 24

Davis, CA – The California Voter Foundation (CVF) is urging voters in counties where electronic, touchscreen voting systems are used to instead vote by paper absentee ballot in the March 2 election.

Citing security concerns, questionable oversight practices and an inability to conduct meaningful audits of election results on the paperless systems, CVF president Kim Alexander said voters in 14 California counties that use touchscreen voting systems should immediately request an absentee ballot from their county elections office. Applications for absentee ballots must be received by Tuesday, February 24.

“Our advice,” Alexander said, “is to cast your votes on paper.”

“Voters who do not want to entrust their ballots to risky, inauditable technology have a choice -- they can reject the paperless touchscreen system and instead vote absentee using a paper ballot. We are encouraging voters who live in electronic voting counties to exercise that choice this election,” Alexander said.

California counties using electronic voting systems on March 2 comprise 40 percent of the state’s electorate. They include Alameda, Kern, Merced, Napa, Orange, Plumas, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, Shasta, Solano, and Tehama.

Ballots cast on electronic voting machines do not allow voters to verify how their vote is recorded, as there is no paper record. Although Secretary of State Kevin Shelley has announced he will require a voter verified paper record of every digital ballot cast, this requirement will not take effect until July 2006. 

Election security concerns related to electronic touchscreen systems have been heightened due to a number of recent developments:

Voters can mail in their absentee ballots prior to the election or return them to their polling place on Election Day. “Absentee voters who return ballots to their polling places can experience the excitement of Election Day, get their 'I voted' sticker and cast their votes with confidence that their ballot is backed up on paper,” Alexander said.

The nonprofit, nonpartisan group is also encouraging voters to participate in election monitoring activities at the precinct and countywide level, such as:

Any irregularities should be reported to the Secretary of State's toll-free “Voter Protection Hotline”, 1-800-345-VOTE.

More information about the March 2, California Primary, California voting systems, and voting technology reform is available from the California Voter Foundation's web site, CVF is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advancing the repsonsible use of technology to improve democracy.

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This page was first published on February 19, 2004 | Last updated on January 27, 2006
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