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For Immediate Release, Friday, April 30, 2004
Contact: Kim Alexander
(916) 441-2494

California Voter Foundation applauds Secretary of State’s decertification of touchscreen voting machines

Decision will require e-voting counties to provide paper ballots as an option

Davis, CA --- Today California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley banned Diebold’s TSx touchscreen voting machine and decertified all other touchscreen voting systems until additional security measures are met. These measures include requiring counties that use electronic voting machines to provide voters who prefer to vote on paper the option to do so. He is also prohibiting the purchase of any new electronic voting systems in California that do not include a voter-verified paper audit trail that enables voters and election officials to verify digital votes are counted as cast.

California Voter Foundation president Kim Alexander praised the Secretary of State’s actions. "California’s Secretary of State took an important, historic step today and turned our state away from making further investments in risky e-voting equipment.”

The California Voter Foundation, along with a number of groups and concerned voters urged the Secretary of State to ban all electronic voting systems and prohibit use of such systems until they include a voter verified paper trail. “While I wish the Secretary of State had gone further, I am confident that his actions today will dramatically mitigate e-voting risks in California this November."

Secretary Shelley decertified all electronic voting systems in California, but left the door open for ten counties using machines other than the Diebold TSx machine to have their systems recertified before November if they meet his additional security measures and provide all voters with the option to cast ballots on paper at polling places. Other requirements include a ban on electronic provisional ballots; access by the Secretary of State's office to all source code used in e-voting systems; a physical security plan from each vendor and county; and posting of election results at polling places at the end of the election for public inspection.

Diebold has supplied approximately 18,000 touch screen voting machines to several California counties; approximately 14,000 of these machines, or 78 percent of Diebold's California touchscreen inventory, are TSx machines. "Secretary Shelley's decision today reduces Diebold's touchscreen inventory in California by 78 percent, and the overall state inventory of touchscreen machines is reduced by one third. That's a significant reduction in the use of risky voting equipment," Alexander said.

She also praised the Secretary of State's decision to require counties that use paperless touchscreen voting machines to also provide voters with the option to cast a paper ballot in polling places. "Giving voters the "paper or plastic?" choice ensures that those voters who are concerned about the reliability of e-voting equipment will exercise their right to vote on November 2."

Of the national implications of California's decision, Alexander said she anticipates it will have a significant impact. "Election officials and voters across the country are watching California closely right now. We are hopeful that other states will continue to follow Secretary Shelley's lead and enhance the security of voting systems throughout the country."

The California Voter Foundation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advancing the responsible use of technology to improve democracy. More information about the California Voter Foundation is available at

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This page was first published on April 30, 2004 | Last updated on January 27, 2006
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