15 July 2004

Machines to print voting receipts

Adrienne Packer
Las Vegas Review-Journal
July 13, 2004

Nevada voters to have at least one printer at each site

Nevada counties will be the first in the nation to offer a verification printout of a completed ballot, allowing voters to review their choices before processing them, state election officials said.

The voter verification printers are one part of the 2002 Help America Vote Act, which became federal law following the Florida election debacle of 2000. Key elements of the law mandated replacing all punch-card voting machines and allowing each voter to privately verify and correct errors on a ballot before casting the vote.

The software necessary for the printouts was approved by the federal government last week. Nevada is the only state aiming to work out all the bugs and have the computer program running by September's primary election, Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax said.

"Nevada will be the first and only state to use this verification trail," Lomax said. "The whole country is heading this way to watch."

Clark County will have one print-out machine at each polling place. The county's older machines are not capable of providing printouts.

Rural Nevada counties soon will receive new touch-screen voting machines to accommodate the software.

Nevada entered a $9 million contract with Sequoia Voting Systems for 2,000 new computers and 3,000 printers, Lomax said. The county's older machines will be retrofitted after the election to accommodate printers.

The new program is federally funded.

[...] All early voting polling places in Clark County will have only the touch-screen voting machines with the printer, George said.

When voters enter their polling place, they will be given receipts that are assigned numbers.

Those numbers appear on the voting machine's computer screen and the printout, which scrolls up behind a plastic window. Voters can then verify the printout coincides with the computerized ballot by checking whether the numbers match.

"The printer scrolls out all the candidates you voted for," Lomax said. "You verify who you voted for, and if you accept it, you cast your ballot. It provides an independent paper record of what's in the computer's memory."

Voters who unintentionally cast the wrong vote can re-enter their choice.

The printouts will be stored in a county vault, Lomax said.

Lomax said the fact the number appears on the printout does not compromise a voter's privacy.


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