Voting Machine Contract Up For Vote

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A contract to buy more than 4,500 electronic voting machines and move Nevada voters into the computer age is up for a final vote by the state Board of Examiners on Tuesday.

It isn't the nearly $9.3 million price tag that has election clerks worried. All but $463,600 of that will be paid for by the federal government under the Help America Vote Act.

Carson City Clerk Alan Glover said he and other county election officials are concerned that even if Sequoia Voting Systems gets the machines here in the next month, counties won't be able to use them because Secretary of State Dean Heller insists they be able to produce a paper receipt.

Heller's chief deputy Renee Parker says installing those printers, so voters can confirm who they voted for, is no big deal. But she acknowledged Glover's concern that there aren't even federal standards for the "Voter Verified Paper Trail" printing units.

In his report to other clerks about a recent conference in Washington, D.C., Glover said there are no standards now and there "will be no standards in the foreseeable future."

Glover said Heller already has ruled punch card machines Carson City and six other counties have used for decades are no longer legal voting devices, so counties must move forward. He said his preference is that, if the printing attachments aren't certified in time, the counties be allowed to use the new machines without them.

But Heller has said he wants the printing units before the new electronic machines are used statewide. Parker said if the federal government can't certify the printing units, the contract contains language designed to let the state hire experts to do the job at Sequoia's expense.

Glover said the clerks need to know for certain by April 30 which system they are going to use.