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Voting Machines Touch and Go

From Associated Press

California election officials have rejected an electronic voting machine by Diebold after tests revealed unacceptable levels of screen freezes and paper jams.

Three counties already have purchased the TSX voting machine, which was found to have a failure rate of 10%.

Secretary of State Bruce McPherson said that was too much of a risk and notified company officials in a letter sent Wednesday.

In a mock election held last week to test the 96 touch-screen machines, McPherson noted in the letter that his staff encountered “problems with paper jamming on the ... printer module.”

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The state withdrew certification for some of Diebold’s e-voting equipment in April 2004 after then-Secretary of State Kevin Shelley found those systems unreliable because they lacked a paper trail.

The state was testing the touch-screen voting machines before recertifying the system.

Ohio-based Diebold Election Systems planned to fix the problems and would reapply for California approval, company spokesman David Bear said.

“As I understand it, there were 10 paper jams,” Bear said. “If you have a printer, you have the possibility of this, but you certainly want to lessen that possibility.”

He noted that Diebold’s system was the first to undergo such extensive testing for the paper trail.

San Joaquin, Kern and San Diego counties have purchased the TSX system, the secretary of state’s office said, spending $40 million on 13,000 machines that have been warehoused since 2003.

Other counties were poised to buy the machines if McPherson approved them.


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