For Immediate Release
Wednesday, July 3, 2002

Contact: Kim Alexander or Saskia Mills
(530) 750-7650, (916) 452-7706

New Directory of California Voting Systems Debuts on the Web

Davis, CA ---- Today the California Voter Foundation (CVF) announced the debut of a new, county-by-county Directory of California Voting Systems, available online at:

"California's voting systems are in a state of flux," said Kim Alexander, President of the California Voter Foundation. "Through our Directory of Voting Systems, CVF will track these changes and help inform California voters about new and existing voting systems."

California's counties currently utilize four different types of voting systems: prescored punch card; Datavote punch card; optical scan; and touchscreen. CVF's online directory provides a listing of the types of voting systems used in each of California's 58 counties; the machine vendor and model name; whether the same voting system is used for absentee voting; and whether a county provides other "early voting" methods. New features will be added to the directory in the coming months, such as photos and instructions for how to use each system.

To create the directory, CVF contacted and interviewed all 58 county election offices and built on previous research compiled by the California Secretary of State's office. When surveying the counties CVF also inquired whether counties currently have any bids out for new voting systems. Many of California's voting systems are expected to change in the future due to a federal court ruling that requires nine California counties that use the prescored, "Votomatic" punch card system to replace those systems before November 2004. Proposition 41, bond measure approved by California voters last March, provides counties with $200 million in state funds to purchase new voting equipment.

One important and potentially troubling development is the use of two different voting systems in the counties that have adopted touchscreen voting, Alameda and Riverside counties. While paper-based systems can be used both at polling places and for absentee balloting, those counties using touchscreen machines in polling places are administering a second, paper-based optical scan system for absentee voting.

"Counties that adopt touchscreen voting are administering two distinct voting systems in order to continue accommodating the growing number of Californians who prefer to vote by mail," Alexander said, adding that she is concerned counties may find it difficult to maintain two systems. Currently one out of every four California voters votes by mail; that number is expected to increase in the future due to a new law that allows Californians to register as permanent absentee voters.

CVF's Directory of California Voting Systems was made possible through a generous grant from the Vodafone-US Foundation. The California Voter Foundation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advancing new technology to improve democracy in California and beyond. For more information, visit CVF's web site at

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This page was first published on July 3, 2002 | Last updated on July 3, 2002
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