West Virginia certifies AccuPoll

West Virginia officials have approved touch-screen voting machines from AccuPoll Inc. for use in the state.

Touch-screen machines, formally called Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) machines, have become controversial. Some computer scientists and other critics warn that hackers could falsify voting results, or the machines could generate inaccurate results simply through an honest mistake. Such a mistake could go undetected because there would be no other record of votes cast, skeptics warn.

The paper trail has been held up as a solution to that problem. The voter would see a printout and verify that it accurately reflects the vote. Then the paper would be stored and available for a manual recount if needed.

AccuPoll machines generate a voter-verified paper trail. Although many election machine companies are balking at adding printers to generate the records, AccuPoll officials decided to incorporate the feature. Federal elections officials qualified the AccuPoll machines this spring.

"With the latest addition of West Virginia to our list of state certifications, we are now able to sell our equipment to roughly one third of the states across the country," said Dennis Vadura, chief executive officer of AccuPoll, in a statement. "This is just another example of the significant momentum the company has had since our federal qualification just three months ago."

The paper-record idea also has critics. Advocates for the disabled, who stand to benefit from the flexibility of the touch-screen machines, warn that fear is leading many jurisdictions to hold off on adopting the technology. And other DRE developers maintain that the systems already include the internal safeguards needed to ensure accuracy.

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