By John Gideon on 8/24/2006, 5:53pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

Tonight Kitty compares the paperless Direct Recording Electronic voting in Maryland to the potentially auditable and verified electronic voting in California. Guests were Dan Wallach of Rice University and California State Senator and Secretary of State candidate Debra Bowen.

The text-transcript of tonight's segment on Lou Dobbs Tonight follows in full...

PILGRIM: Tonight we report on two states and their completely different approaches to electronic voting. California and Maryland will both use electronic voting machines in the upcoming midterm elections. Now one state is taking important steps to stop voter fraud and the other is making little effort to ensure a fair vote.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PILGRIM (voice-over): California, Maryland, different states with electronic voting. Different rules.

PROF. DAN WALLACH, RICE UNIVERSITY: What we have today is every state doing its own thing. Some states are very aggressive in requiring newer and better technologies. Other states are holding back, waiting for more guidance and waiting for vendors to implement things. It is really all over the map what different states are doing.

PILGRIM: In Maryland the governor became worried about voting security and electronic voting machines. The House in Maryland voted to switch from a Diebold all electronic, touch screen system to a system with a paper trail. The governor set aside $20 million to fund the switch, but the measure was killed by the state Senate, so Diebold electronic voting machines will be used for all 24 districts in Maryland in November.

In 2004, California officials decertified all electronic voting machines unless they had a paper trail. The measure was signed into law. This past June, 30 counties used electronic voting under the new requirements. Senator Bowen helped write the legislation that requires a one percent audit of the vote compared to the paper trail, but she wants even more safeguards.

DEBRA BOWEN (R)[sic], CA. STATE SENATE: First thing we need to be doing is beefing up our audit requirements. And I think it's instructive to look at how the slot machines are audited. Casinos in Vegas are far better audited than electronic voting machines.

PILGRIM: Twenty-seven states now have either a law or a requirement for voter-verified paper trail of all elections. And in eight more states, the paper trail is not required but is used statewide. But 15 states still have no requirements for those safeguards.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PILGRIM: Voter activists say it's high time Congress considers a federal law to tighten up security. Congressman Rush Holt has 209 co- sponsors in a bipartisan bill pending in committee with a hearing scheduled soon. And it would require a voter-verified paper trail and a mandatory recount of two percent of the vote, randomly selected to make sure the results are legitimate on any election.