San Bernardino Co. considers return to paper ballots
02:53 PM PDT on Friday, August 17, 2007
San Bernardino County will consider going back to paper ballots for the November election and next year's presidential elections after the Secretary of State's decision earlier this month to decertify touch-screen voting machines.
The recommendation from county Registrar of Voters Kari Verjil, which goes to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, calls for spending $1.5 million to make the switch to optical scan ballots, the same system the county now uses for absentee ballots.
Secretary of State Debra Bowen's Aug. 3 decision decertifying electronic voting systems requires counties using those systems to have new voting equipment ready for use in the February presidential primary.
Verjil said she is proposing to change for the November election, when some city, school board and special district seats will be on the ballot, so that poll workers will be trained and ready for 2008.
"It would be a tremendous effort for our poll workers, who have worked so hard, to go back and forth," she said.
San Bernardino County first started using touch-screen voting machines, made by Sequoia Voting Systems, in March 2004 under a court mandate to stop using punch card ballots.
The touch-screen voting machines were briefly decertified later that year by then-Secretary of State Kevin Shelley which led some counties, including Riverside and San Bernardino, to sue the state. The machines were recertified in time for the November 2004 election, after the counties agreed to some security measures, including offering voters a choice of using paper ballots.
In November 2005, San Bernardino County was one of the first counties to start using electronic voting machines with a paper trail receipt, another measure asked for by Shelley.
The county has spent $16 million on its electronic voting machines, county spokesman David Wert said.
Riverside County Registrar Barbara Dunmore said earlier this week she would recommend purchasing a $7 million paper ballot and optical scanning system from Sequoia without seeking a competitive proposal.
The move was met with criticism from some voting rights advocates and county supervisors who said they wanted more than one option.
On Friday, Dunmore said her office would continue to explore options so she could bring more information to the Board of Supervisors when they consider her recommendations Aug. 28.
Riverside County has spent about $25 million on its Sequoia touch screen system since 2000.
Staff Writer Kim Trone contributed to this report.
Reach Imran Ghori at 909-806-3061 or ighori@PE.com
BS Ranch Perspective:
One Giant Step Forward, Two Steps back, if you were to ask me!! I realize that the Counties Registrars of Voters Wants to have a Uniform Voter Ballot, however that is impossible, if they want to stay with the paper ballot, the last few times that I have been to my Local Polling Place (since the implementing of the Electronic Voting Machines) There has always been a long line to wait in to vote. I think the shortest time that I have waited was Twenty Minutes since there was so many people in there to vote, and it didn't matter what time that I voted, each time that I went to stand in line it was a different time of the day. The last time being at 1700 hrs, and I didn't get out of there until just after 1800 hrs. I felt it was a little crazy that I had to wait over an hour just to get to the touch screen machine to get my vote in for the ballots and the other major things that were going on for our county.
Now They are talking of going back to the Paper ballot, I suppose it is because there has been in increase of a voter in one party that isn't to the liking of the majority party that is in the major control of the Voting block, in this case the Registrar of Voters for San Bernardino County is in control of the Democrat and I suppose that there has been in increase in a Republican Vote, so they feel that they should do something to reduce the voting that is going on.
I am guessing of this of coarse and I want you to know that it is a huge mistake that the County of San Bernardino is even thinking of by wanting to go backwards. I being a member of the Voting Public, Vote Against the change.