Counties will not be able to purchase any new e-voting machines unless the machines can produce a voter-verified paper trail that voters can use to authenticate that their vote was recorded accurately. This pushes up a previous deadline Shelley put forth in December when he mandated that all new voting machines purchased after June 2005 would have to produce a paper trail.
The last straw was the dodgy activity by Diebold (which serves El Paso County among others). In Kim Vetter’s words at Wired, “Diebold Election Systems made last-minute, untested changes to a device used with its AccuVote-TS and TSx voting machines. As a result of glitches, hundreds of polling places failed to open on time, disenfranchising voters who couldn’t cast ballots.” Secretary of State Shelley is referring Diebold to the Attorney General for the unauthorized upgrades.
The California decision was made after years of work by activists including Kim Alexander at Calvoter, and David Dill, professor of computer science at Stanford University, founder of Verified Voting educating state officials about the risks of non-verified voting.
We have a ways to go here in Texas. County and state officials are learning about voting system security. At a public hearing of the House Elections Committee, a county clerk testifed about the popularity of the Diebold system among voters. None of the state or county election administrators seemed concerned about the studies in the last year showing serious security flaws in these systems.
When presented with reports about evoting problems in other states, chairwoman Mary Denny declared that these stories were not relevant, because they did not happen in Texas. Imagine if Firestone tires self-destructed in California, and Texas officials said that the evidence wouldn’t be relevant unless the tires exploded here in Texas.
This means we have more education to do here. But the trend nationwide is in the right direction.