Florida Gov. Charlie Crist last Thursday announced a budget recommendation of $32.5 million to establish a paper trail for all votes cast in Florida elections. The funds would replace touch-screen voting machines with optical-scan machines in all precincts statewide. Also, devices would be added to create a paper trail for all touch-screen machines used to comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. Crist's proposed funding would cover 100 percent of the cost of the machines.
"My recommended budget would allow a verifiable paper trail of Florida's voting system, without placing a financial burden on county taxpayers," said Crist. "Our goal is to increase voter confidence and ensure Floridians have confidence in the voting process."
Crist made the announcement at a meeting of the Voters Coalition at the South County Civic Center in Delray Beach. The Voters Coalition is an organization of voter advocacy groups. He was joined by Lt. Governor Kottkamp, U.S. Representative Robert Wexler and Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning.
During optional early voting when multiple ballots must be available at centralized voting locations, counties may choose to use touch-screen technology, which enables greater efficiency. The device added to each touch-screen machine would provide a paper trail that can be reviewed by every voter to insure the accountability of every vote cast.
"Optical scan voting systems have a proven track record for accuracy in Florida's elections," said Browning. "Also, adding verification to touch-screen voting will provide a paper trail that can be utilized for any recount."