E-voting: The Western states

Electronic voting prospects in eight Western states

States: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Washington

Though California's e-voting struggles have grabbed most of the headlines for the region, both Arizona and Washington lead most observers' lists of states with the potential for election trouble. Arizona, which is in the middle of a suit over the legality of direct-recording electronic (DRE) systems that can't produce a voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT), has also been at the center of a ferocious lawsuit over its voter database, which may affect how smoothly things go on Election Day.

Washington, still smarting after 2004's multiple recounts in the bitter 2004 gubernatorial race, is struggling with an unreliable database of eligible voters. In addition, the split between the electronic voting options in the Seattle area and the vote-by-mail system in place across the rest of the state could prove problematic. Both Electionline and The Century Foundation have flagged Arizona and Washington as states to watch in November.

 

ALASKA
Registered voters

Approx. 334,000
Voting equipment vendor
Diebold
Technologies
Hand-counted ballots, optical scanners, DRE/VVPAT
Legal requirements
State law requires voter-verifiable paper records and manual audits in randomly selected precincts.
Voter registration database
VREMS (Voter Registration and Election Management System), written in Natural has been in place since 1985; due for upgrade. Alaska's original database, launched in 1970, was the third in the nation.
Government links
- Division of Elections
- HAVA plan (PDF format), includes plans for dogsled deployment
Watchdog sites
- Alaska: 2004 Electronic Election Data Was Changed in 2006, VoteTrustUSA, Oct. 5, 2006
-Count Every Vote Alaska  (mailing list)
Computerworld coverage
- Alaska Dems Battle State Over E-voting, Oct. 16, 2006
Elsewhere in the news
- Editorial: Voting security: Alaska's system is a good one; it passed its primary election test, Anchorage Daily News via Newstex, Sept. 13, 2006
- Problems with touchscreen machines slow vote count, AP via Anchorage Daily News, Aug. 23, 2006
- Salon's shameful six, Salon.com, Aug. 15, 2006

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ARIZONA
Registered voters

Approx. 2,485,000
Voting equipment vendors
Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia
Technologies
Optical scan, ballot-marking device, DRE/VVPAT
Legal requirements
State law requires voter-verifiable paper records and manual audits in randomly selected precincts. A suit requesting a ban on DREs without VVPATs is in the courts.
Voter registration database
VRAZ-1 database developed in-house in 2004; state has contracted with IBM and ES&S for VRAZ-2.
Government links
- Voter Information
- Preliminary (2003) HAVA plan (PDF format)
Watchdog sites
- Arizona Citizens for Election Reform
- Arizona Citizens for Fair Elections
- Audit AZ
In the news
Senate OKs measure to ensure accuracy of electronic voting, Arizona Daily Star, March 17, 2006
Initiative: Check voting machines, Arizona Daily Star, Feb. 1, 2006
Arizona Awards Contract for Statewide Voter Registration Management System  (press release), Government Technology, Jan. 13, 2006

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