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New Voting Machines have Voter-Certified Paper Trail

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This is a new electronic era of voting for the country, and San Diego County. Next Tuesday will mark the county’s first full deployment of voting machines with a voter-certified paper trail.

The county will roll out 10,000 new Diebold touch-screen machines. You may remember similar electronic devices from the 2004 March election. There were some problems with those, mainly the card encoder units failed in a third of all precincts. Some voters were even turned away.

Since then, the California Secretary of State mandated a paper trail in San Diego County. So Diebold redesigned these machines. After voting on an average of 55 items by touching choices on screen, voters can double check their selections on a piece of paper.

Mikel Haas, Registrar of Voters: That paper becomes the record of your vote. It's kept by the device. It's not a receipt. It's not like an ATM, where you would get a copy of your ballot. That's illegal. But you get to check it on paper before its cast. And then once you cast it, it’s rolled up and kept with all the other ballots that are in there.

Election workers are packing up the devices and distributing them to poll workers around the county. There’s some concern about workers having access to the machines so early. But Haas says the machines are sealed with a tamper-evident device with multiple security measures in place.

If you are heading to the polls or the Registrar’s Office to vote, Haas recommends marking your sample ballot beforehand, especially with such a long ballot. And he says you can go on-line to practice at www.SDvote.com .

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