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Bill Would Create Destination for Virginia's Election 'Paper Trail'

January 30, 2008

Richmond, VA - State Senator Mark Herring is introducing a bill to let election workers count paper ballots in recounts for close elections. Last year, the legislature banned new purchases of electronic voting machines that don't provide a paper record, but let stand a law that limits recounts to double-checking the electronic totals.

McLean attorney Ivy Main with the Verifiable Voting Coalition of Virginia says the new law will help overcome doubts about computerized voting systems.

"There was a sense that computers were going to be the answer, and instead what we have found is that computers make mistakes, they have security issues, they have not been the reliable answer."

Main says Florida's electoral meltdown in its 2000 recount was a warning sign for Virginia.

"We're looking at close elections every year, and we would certainly like to avoid a situation where voters couldn't feel confident in the outcome of the election."

Herring says his bill will let election officials ensure the accuracy of the electronic totals, and it will give the voters confidence that the candidate with the most votes actually wins the election.

John Robinson/Eric Mack, Public News Service - VA