E-voting Fails the Beta Test

California legislators want to stop the use of all paperless electronic voting machines in the state, fearing the same type of fiasco that plagued Florida in the 2000 election. State Sens. Don Perata (D-Oakland) and Ross Johnson (R-Irvine), the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate election committee, have written a letter to Secretary of State Kevin Shelley, urging him to decertify all paperless touch-screen voting machines before the general election. The March 2 primary "was a test-flight of widespread use of these machines. I think it's fair to say the test flight crashed and burned," said Perata. The senators cited malfunctions in e-voting machines that resulted in voters being turned away from the polls, ballots being cast for the wrong legislative districts, and numerous delays. "The existing generation of machines are no better than beta test machines," said Tom Stanionis, data processing manager for Yolo County's election division, adding that elections should not be a test-bed for vendors to work out problems with their machines.