County Unveils New Voting Machines
Some Voter Groups Oppose New System
POSTED: 4:57 PM PST January 29, 2004
SAN DIEGO With the California primary election less than two months away, the San Diego County Office of the Registrar worked around the clock to introduce the county's new touch-screen voting machines.
More than 10,000 computerized touch-screen voting machines were delivered throughout the county. They were tested and certified by Secretary of State Kevin Shelley. Poll workers are being trained to handle the new system, which will be in place by March 2, 2004, for every California county.
"We will have hundreds of troubleshooters out in the field that will be able to assist the poll workers on Election Day," said Registrar Sally McPherson.
McPherson said even if you are not computer savvy, the machines are easy to use.
"The touch-screen system is the most accurate system that we could offer our voters. There is no question of chad, no question of whether a bubble is filled in correctly," McPherson said. "You'd be surprised how many people who are nervous about this."
McPherson added that there should be no concern about computer hacking.
"It's not connected to the Internet. It is a stand-alone system. They don't even talk to one another in the polling place," McPherson said.
But still, some voter groups said nothing can replace a true paper trail.
Citizens with S.A.V.E. Democracy said the system was never designed with voting in mind. They cited the secretary of state for New Hampshire who refused to use them, saying he trusted humans more.
Brina-Rae Schuchman, from S.A.V.E. Democracy, said, "What we really need is to put them in the warehouse, get yourself straight and clear about what really is good for us, and in the meantime (use)absentee ballots and paper ballots at the poll."
Because of that skepticism, the secretary of state will require all machines to have a paper trail by the year 2006. Until then, McPherson said voters should not knock the machines until they try them.
"We are confident in the accuracy of the system, the security of the system and are looking forward to introducing it to our voters," McPherson said.
The office of the registrar will be conducting seminars to help familiarize voters with the new machines. If you are interested in a demonstration, visit www.sdvote.com/.