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Around the States

Iowa: Culver Willing to Back Plan to Buy New Voting Machines PDF  | Print |  Email
By Jennifer Jacobs, Des Moines Register   
February 09, 2008
Gov. Chet Culver is backing down on his plan for updating Iowa's election technology after weeks of disagreement over how to ensure a paper trail for every voting machine. Culver said Friday he is now willing to use state money to help counties switch to one uniform system with paper ballots.

Iowa's top election official, Michael Mauro, has been pushing a $9.7 million plan that would give every voter an actual paper ballot that could be recounted later, and would give every county the same equipment.

Two weeks ago, Culver called that plan "irresponsible" because it would cost the state too much money. He wanted to stick with a cheaper plan that lawmakers approved last year: spend $2 million to equip touch-screen voting machines, which have electronic ballots, with a special printer that shows voters their choices on a continuous roll of paper.

Watchdog groups, who distrust the electronic ballots and the printers, criticized Culver's plan as "chasing good money after bad."

On Friday, Culver said he is willing to use the $2 million meant for the printers as a down payment on new equipment for counties that need to replace their touch-screen machines. The secretary of state's office has another $1.7 million earmarked, he said.

Culver said the state could use the contract he negotiated when he was secretary of state to make a group purchase at a discounted rate. The voting machine vendor could then be paid the balance "over time," he said.

Read the Entire Article at The Des Moines Register

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