Calif. mandates voter trails by 2006

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill that will require the state's electronic voting machines to produce a voter verifiable paper trail.

However, the new law will not affect the upcoming presidential election. It sets a 2006 deadline for compliance.

Many voter groups have advocated that touch-screen voting machines should be required to produce the paper record. They argue that the paper would be seen but not touched by voters, they and would provide a means to conduct a manual recount if the computerized results were suspect.

"California's public officials took a bold step toward improving confidence in our state's voting system," said Dennis Vadura, chief executive officer of AccuPoll Inc., a company that develops machines with paper trails built in.

The new law reflects a set of standards that California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley issued earlier this year. They require a voter-verified paper audit trail on new systems by July 2005. Older systems must be retrofitted by July 2006.

Only Nevada has required the paper trail to be in place in time for this year's election.

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