Saturday, April 30, 2005

Dayton Calls for Paper Trail

April 27, 2005
Contact: Semonti Mustaphi (202) 228-3263
Press Release

Dayton Calls for Paper Trail of All Ballots Cast on Electronic Voting Machines

Senator secures commitment for hearing on protecting the integrity of elections

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Mark Dayton, a member of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, introduced an amendment to a campaign finance reform bill that would require electronic voting machines to print receipts of all cast ballots. The receipts would help to eliminate discrepancies in vote tabulations, which were reported during the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. The amendment would also reduce voter error, by enabling voters to print and verify their ballots before casting them. The Rules and Administration Committee failed to adopt the amendment.

Minnesota and 19 other states have legislation pending that would require paper trails for electronic voting machines; 14 states have already enacted such legislation. Over the next year, states and counties will receive $1 billion in federal funding to purchase new voting machines and equipment. The amendment Dayton introduced would have required states and counties to purchase systems that provide voter-verified paper ballots and receipts.

“As a former State Auditor, I learned the necessity of keeping back up documents and a paper trail,” said Dayton. “There is potential for massive fraud by somebody breaking into an electronic system and altering the numbers after votes have been cast without a paper back up. It would be impossible to go back and determine what the actual vote tally should have been.

“The legislation was tabled, but I did get from Senator [Trent] Lott a promise that we would have a hearing on protecting the integrity of our elections before the August recess. I will work with other members to advance legislation which will take effect before the next election.”

“Paperless electronic voting machines fail to provide this very basic and essential capability, because they deny voters the opportunity to verify that their votes have been accurately recorded,” said Mark Halvorson, President of Citizens for Election Integrity. “We are very grateful for Senator Dayton's support on the crucial issue of voter-verified paper ballots which takes an important first step in remedying this problem which is far too common in our current voting system.”

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