Nevada voting machine printers certified | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada voting machine printers certified

Printers designed to let Nevada voters confirm that the new electronic voting machines are accurately recording their choices have been formally certified by both state and federal officials.

Secretary of State Dean Heller said Nevada is the first state to certify the V-PAT printers and will be the first state in the nation to use those printers in an election.

Heller earlier ordered all Nevada counties to give up their punchcard machines and other outmoded technology and use the electronic voting machines designed by Sequoia. But he also mandated that Sequoia develop a printer that shows voters what choices they made on paper before they finalize their ballot.

Under federal law, those voters will not be allowed to keep the printed ballot, but they will be able to see and review it before finishing at the polling station.

Heller said the printed records will be kept in the machine and will give election officials a method of hand-counting ballots to ensure the electronic machines are accurate in case of a recount.

He said he ordered installation of the printers because they will “provide voters with the highest level of confidence that elections in this state are fair, unbiased and secure.”

The VeriVote printer was manufactured by Sequoia and Heller said it has been certified as accurate by Wyle Laboratories at the federal level. They were certified at the state level by Steve Freeman, an expert hired by Heller’s office.

Heller said certification gives Sequoia the go-ahead to mass produced the printers. He said they should be available for county clerks to install on their electronic voting machines by Aug. 6.

The electronic voting machines function much like ATMs with voters making their selections on a touch-screen. They have been praised by representatives for the disabled and those with a limited command of English. Not only can they present the ballot in different languages, they can present it through headphones so the visually impaired can vote without assistance.

All Nevada counties except Clark will have the machines attached to their voting machines. Clark County already has the machines and has used them for several elections. Because their electorate is already comfortable with the machines, Clark officials aren’t required to provide the printed paper trail for all voters. But they will have one machine in each polling station with a printer.

“Many computer scientists, election-related organizations and citizens groups have called for the inclusion of a paper trail on touch-screen voting machines as necessary to ensure voter confidence and help eliminate possible voter fraud,” Heller said.

Overall, he said the electronic machines have proven to be more accurate than punch-card voting and other older systems. They are designed to prevent some of the problems which disqualified thousands of ballots in the 2000 elections including over-voting where too many selections are made accidentally.

Contact Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.