County wants state OK for vote-count system

first_imgWith the presidential primary less than three months away, Los Angeles County supervisors will ask California’s secretary of state today to allow the county to use a vote-counting system that has not yet been reviewed by the state. The request – with just 77 days to go before voters head to the polls – comes after vendor Premier Election Solutions failed earlier this year to submit its vote-counting equipment and software quickly enough for a statewide review of election systems. With little time left, Board of Supervisors Chairman Zev Yaroslavsky said the county has to move forward to seek approval to use its existing, county-owned Microcomputer Tally System. But while the county has used that tallying system in the past, it also has not been part of Secretary of State Debra Bowen’s current statewide certification review. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre “We are going to be talking in the days ahead about the kinds of security conditions that will work for (the secretary of state) and will work for us,” Yaroslavsky said. “I think our system is going to be very reliable. I think we are getting too close to the presidential primary and general elections to be testing new equipment anyway. “Even if it was certified tonight, we wouldn’t feel comfortable moving quickly in this kind of election year.” As part of an agreement reached with Los Angeles County earlier this year, Bowen’s office can now impose various security conditions on the use of the county-owned and -developed MTS system to ensure that ballots are counted accurately. “The goal now is to ensure that Los Angeles County has a system it can use and that Los Angeles County’s voters know that the system that is going to be used is accurate and reliable,” said Chief Deputy Secretary of State Evan Goldberg. “That’s what the secretary of state and the Board of Supervisors are beginning to talk about now – what conditions should be imposed on the use of the MTS system to make sure Los Angeles County’s and the secretary of state’s goals are met.” The last-minute maneuver follows an August decision by Bowen to decertify voting systems in 39 counties amid concerns they are vulnerable to hacking. All but Los Angeles County’s InkaVote Plus system were recertified with new security systems in place. Dean Logan, chief deputy in the county Registrar-Recorder’s Office, said Bowen’s office is still reviewing the county’s InkaVote Plus system, which voters in the past have used to ink their ballots at polling locations. At a hearing next week in Sacramento, state officials who reviewed the system will present their findings – which Bowen will then use to decide whether to certify that system and what additional conditions to impose. “We’ve been given every indication that she’s going to recertify that system, probably in the first week of December,” Logan said. Bowen’s office also decertified the county’s Premier Election Solutions electronic touch-screen voting machines, which have been used for the past seven years at 17 locations throughout the county. About 60,000 voters cast their ballots on touch-screen machines in the November 2004 presidential election. Although the county could continue to offer touch-screen voting if it manually recounts all votes cast within 28 days of the election, Logan said that would not be possible logistically. “There is just no physical way to go back and hand-count every one of those voter-verified paper audit trails,” Logan said. “What we are recommending to the board is that we discontinue touch-screen voting, at least until we have an agreement with the secretary of state on modified conditions that would allow us to still use the system, but also provide voters reassurance that the system is secure and accurate.” The county still will continue to provide early, touch-screen polling for blind voters at the Braille Institute in Los Angeles. “We believe we can still offer it there,” he said. “And do a 100 percent recount on that volume of ballots.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more