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Election board nears decision on new voting machines


By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis – St. Louis County election officials are nearing a decision on a vendor that will provide the next generation of voting machines.

The county election board has narrowed its search to three vendors that make both touch screen and optical scan systems.

The board's preliminary plan calls for more than 1,700 touch screens and 500 scanners in place by late 2006.

Chairman John Diehl is confident each of the vendors offers adequate security.

"All the systems have a voter verified paper audit trail; they have triple redundancy within the machines, and St. Louis County has a history of very strict procedures to run the elections."

But voter Harvey Friedman believes a printed tally should remain the ultimate reflection of voter intent.

"Computers can make mistakes, people can make mistakes," Friedman said. "If the ballot of record cannot be the paper trail, there's no reason even to have the paper trail."

Diehl said the board will likely not need any additional money from the county above the nearly $10 million the federal government is providing for the machines.


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