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State's top election official pulls plug on electronic voting machines

Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Three Ohio counties that were considering a switch to electronic voting machines for the November election will not be allowed to do so because of concerns about the machines' security, Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell said Friday.

Hardin, Lorain and Trumbull counties had tentatively agreed to use the machines made by North Canton-based Diebold Inc. Mercer County decided this week to stick with its current system, Blackwell spokesman Carlo LoParo said. The other three counties will do likewise, LoParo said.

Blackwell said he made his decision based on a preliminary study of a second round of security tests. The first round found 57 problems, most security related, in the machines made by the three vendors picked to supply them - Diebold, Electronic Systems and Software, and Hart Intercivic.

Diebold was the only vendor to submit new software and hardware for retesting. Blackwell's office said the results of those tests would be released when the full study was complete.

Thirty-one counties had originally planned to replace their machines for this year's election, but most backed out as the election drew closer. Most of those counties use punch-card ballots, the type that plagued the Florida vote in the 2000 presidential election.

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