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Indianapolis Meeting Compares Voting Machine Standards

Slips like these, with bar codes on them, could be part of a new electronic voting system in Monroe County if a proposal before the election board wins unanimous approval.

State election officials from more than a dozen states are in Indianapolis to compare notes on voting machines. The controversy over “hanging chads” in the Florida presidential vote prompted Congress in 2002 to order the states to make the transition to optical-scan and touch-screen voting machines.

But Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson insists Indiana is one of the few states with the technical expertise to assess whether competing models meet state standards. Still, Hoosier officials will hear presentations from many states in an effort to determine best practices, Lawson says.

“Each and every attendant has to present,” she says. “So they are there sharing what they‘ve learned and sharing best practices, sharing what their challenges are, and possible solutions.”

The federal Election Assistance Commission judges how well machines meet a set of federal baseline standards, but state-by-state variations such as at-large representatives or straight-party voting require additional testing. The two-day conference concludes today.

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