Committee Decides Against New Voting Machines for November

Committee Decides Against New Voting Machines for November

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Citing continuing concerns about security, the committee charged with replacing Utah's punch-card voting system has decided no new machines will be purchased for use in the November general election.

"The last thing we want to do is make a mistake," State Elections Director Amy Naccarato said after the Voting Equipment Selection Committee decided Thursday to study how the various types of new machines perform in other states in November before making a choice.

Naccarato said there continues to be concerns about the security of the computerized machines.

"While some of that we feel is valid, some of that is political," she said. "We know that perception is reality, and the perception is the machines aren't ready."

Replacing the punch-card ballots should make it easier for some disabled to vote without assistance. But at a public hearing last month, many disabled people said that access to polling places is a bigger problem.

Fraser Nelson, executive director of the Disability Law Center, said the committee should be applauded for "making sure the decision has the support it needs to be successful." She said having new machines in place this November wasn't "a big, big concern."

Nelson said a recent survey of the law center's clients found that most were concerned about the security of the new voting machines.

"For many people, they would rather make sure the thing works and their vote really does count . . . than to rush into something," he said.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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