North Dakota and Nebraska Quietly Stay All Paper
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By Warren Stewart, Director of Legislative Issues and Policy
October 25, 2005
little public notice, both North Dakota and Nebraska have decided to
join the swelling ranks of states that have passed on paperless Direct
Record Electronic (DRE) voting machines and opted instead for optical
scan systems that utilize ballot-marking devices to comply with
requirements for disabled accessibility.
Wyoming, South Dakota,
Oklahoma, Idaho, Montana, and several other states have also chosen to
meet the HAVA disability access requirements through the use of ballot
marking devices rather than paperless electronic machines. This calls
into questions the claims by election officials in New Mexico, New
York, California, and other states that ballot-marking devices are
somehow not HAVA compliant.
On October 13, at a meeting of county auditors and election workers
North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger announced that all 53
counties in his state would be complying with HAVA through the use of
one ballot-marking device in each precinct. Each of the states 575
polling places will be equipped with an ES&S optical scanner and an
AutoMark, developed by Vogue Election Systems and marketed by ES&S.
North Dakota nor Nebraska have legislated requirements for a paper
audit trail, but the fact that optical scan ballots are inherently
voter verified and provide a paper record for audits and recounts
appears to have been an important factor in each state’s decision.
Secretary of State John Gale announced his state's decision on October
25. "Under HAVA, we're required to equip our election officials with an
election system that will meet the federal mandates," Gale said. "We're
pleased that ES&S can furnish us with a unique voting system
consisting of the ES&S AutoMARK and optical-scan equipment. This
combination continues a solid relationship of Nebraska with ES&S
and provides us with a paper-ballot system that is uniform across the
“A paper-ballot system has a lot of advantages,” Gale
commented. “It’s reliable and cost-effective, voters find it easy to
use, and the ability to conduct accurate recounts is preserved.”
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