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Board Selects Dial-a-Vote Machine

Supervisors choose a $25-million system over the touch-screen type, starting in March '04.

January 29, 2003|Jean O. Pasco | Times Staff Writer

Orange County voters will dial their choices onto a computer screen during next year's March election, part of a $25-million electronic voting system approved Tuesday by county supervisors.

The system will be paid mostly from $16.8 million in state funds provided by the approval of Proposition 41, which requires the modernization of voting systems in California.

About 9,000 machines developed by Hart InterCivic of Austin, Texas, will be installed in the county's 1,700 precincts next year. They will replace aging punch card machines that have resulted in miscounts and delays in recent years.

Supervisors backed the recommendation of a seven-member selection panel to go with a dial system, in which voters use a small wheel to highlight their choices, rather than a popular touch-screen type. Election officials said that the touch-screen machines must be calibrated and that results could be skewed if the machines were dropped or mishandled.

Ballots will be available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese. Visually impaired voters will be able to switch to a larger type; the blind can use an audio ballot.

Board of Supervisors chairman Tom Wilson also delivered his state of the county speech Tuesday, focusing on the financial problems of the planning department and the search for a county chief executive.

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