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Update: CA paper trail bill moves ahead

August 27 , 2004

Hi Folks,

The California Legislature is poised to pass an historic election reform bill, SB 1438. This bill, co-authored by Senators Ross Johnson (R-Orange) and Don Perata (D-Alameda), will require that:

This bill, proclaimed dead just two weeks ago, is now on its way out of the Legislature due to a successful, 11th-hour revival effort led by Senators Johnson and Perata.

SB 1438 passed out of the Assembly last night on a unanimous, 71-0 vote. It now heads to the Senate for a final vote today, where passage is expected. Once passed by the Legislature, SB 1438 goes to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who then has thirty days to sign or veto the bill, or let the bill become law without his signature.

SB 1438 essentially codifies California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley's November 2003 order to require a voter verified paper trail and advances that requirement by one election (Shelley's order imposes the VVPT requirement in advance of the 2006 General election).

Placing a voter verified paper trail requirement into California statute will ensure that this fundamental reform becomes law. (As you may recall, the Secretary of State's e-voting security orders have previously been challenged, unsuccessfully, in court by four California counties.) This bill will not impact this November's election.

Support for the voter verified paper trail has been building across the state and nation for over a year now, as awareness of computerized voting risks have spread. Requiring a voter verified paper record of each electronic ballot ensures that the public can verify the accuracy of software used to cast and count ballots.

While SB 1438 has enjoyed strong, unanimous, bipartisan support in the Legislature, there are still many groups that oppose this bill, and not very many listed in support. Some of the groups currently on record opposing SB 1438 include the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the ACLU, the county registrars' association, and several groups representing the interests of blind, disabled and minority language voters.

Those wishing to contact the governor regarding this or any other bill can do so in a number of ways, but the most effective means will be using his online web form, at:

or sending a letter via U.S. mail to:

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814

More information about SB 1438 is online at:

Have a great weekend,

-- Kim Alexander, California Voter Foundation

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This page was first published on August 27, 2004 | Last updated on December 9, 2004
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