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The Registrar of Voters’ Office Cannot Use Paper Voting Machines

The Registrar of Voters' Office Cannot Use Paper Voting Machines

Op-Ed: Fair and independent redistricting? Los Angeles County does it already.

By David Lazarus, Orange County Register, November 16, 2000

An Orange County Superior Court judge last night ordered that the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters’ office, the jurisdiction with the most computers, have a voting system with no paper records at all.

The ruling comes in the legal challenge, filed by two Republican members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and three Republican officeholders, to the use of electronic voting machines in the county. The lawsuit contends that the registrar’s office is using the electronic voting machines to “favor” some candidates over others, based on the outcome of a computer analysis.

The judge ruled that the state constitution gives local registrars the authority to decide on whether voting should be done with paper ballots. And with that authority, the registrar could not count the paper ballots, even though the electronic voting machine would do so.

The judge reasoned that the local registrar had the power to decide on whether each ballot that needed to be counted should be counted, and the state Constitution gives the registrar the power to determine how much weight to give each ballot. By not counting the paper ballots, the state Constitution “prevents the Registrar of Voters from engaging in the arbitrary and discriminatory practice… that the plaintiffs contend is taking place.”

A spokesman for the registrar’s office said the ruling would not change its practices, but suggested that a similar suit, also filed by Republicans, is pending in the state courts.

The dispute between the Republicans and the county was over whether the registrar should count paper ballots, or the electronic ones.

The state election officials dispute the Republicans’ contention that they are using the electronic voting machines improperly: They say only the electronic voting machines use the paper ballots.

The judge issued his ruling on Monday but said that he expected it would be available to the

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