15 June 2004

League of Women Voters drops support of paperless voting machines

AP Technology Writer - June 14, 2004

The League of Women Voters rescinded its support of paperless voting machines on Monday, after hundreds of angry members argued that paper ballots were the only way to safeguard elections from fraud, hackers and computer malfunctions. About 800 delegates who attended the nonpartisan league's biennial convention in Washington voted to adopt a resolution that supports "voting systems and procedures that are secure, accurate, recountable and accessible."

That relatively neutral stance was a sharp change from last year, when leaders endorsed paperless terminals as reliable alternatives to antiquated punch card and lever systems. About 30 percent of the electorate will use paperless touchscreen voting machines in the November election.

The league's support of paperless systems infuriated members from chapters around the country - particularly in Silicon Valley, where computer scientists say the systems jeopardize elections. Legitimate recounts are impossible without paper records of every vote cast, they say.

League members who have been lobbying for months to get the national leadership to change its position said the revision was welcome - if not overdue.


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