Legislature(2001 - 2002)

01/31/2002 08:04 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 320-AUTHORIZING ELECTRONIC BALLOTS                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 0023                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  COGHILL announced  that the  first order  of business  was                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 320, "An  Act relating  to the use  of electronic                                                               
ballots."                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 0062                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOE  GREEN, Alaska  State Legislature,  as sponsor                                                               
of HB  320, mentioned  famous blind people  such as  Helen Keller                                                               
and Ray  Charles.  He said  the majority of blind  people are not                                                               
famous, and  they lead  normal lives, with  one exception:   they                                                               
have  not  been  granted  the  right of  privacy  to  vote.    He                                                               
indicated it's  wrong to deny them  a right that Americans  go to                                                               
war  to  preserve.    Representative   Green  said  there  is  no                                                               
guarantee - only hope - that  the person assisting a blind person                                                               
at the  polls actually  records the  correct vote.   He  told the                                                               
House  State Affairs  Standing Committee  members  they would  be                                                               
shown the  type of electronic  voting equipment that  would allow                                                               
blind people to  vote in privacy.  He passed  around a segment of                                                               
an article  which recently appeared  in the Anchorage  Daily News                                                             
[included in the committee packet].                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 0375                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
TONY SIRVELLO, Administrator of  Elections, Harris County, Texas,                                                               
testified  via  teleconference.    He  told  the  committee  that                                                               
Houston is the "home city,"  and there are 1.8 million registered                                                               
voters [in Harris County].                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 0472                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
LAURA  ACHEE, Staff  to Representative  Joe  Green, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature,  testified on  behalf  of the  sponsor regarding  HB
320.  She asked Mr. Sirvello  to describe the experience of using                                                               
electronic  balloting  equipment  in  general,  and  to  let  the                                                               
committee know whether he had found  it to be an easy process for                                                               
the  voters.   She  also  invited  him  to share  some  anecdotal                                                               
stories regarding electronic balloting.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. SIRVELLO  told the  committee that just  prior to  1998, [the                                                               
City of] El  Paso, Texas, was sued by the  "El Paso coalition for                                                               
the blind," which claimed that  it was improper that blind voters                                                               
require  assistance while  voting.   The  case received  national                                                               
publicity, he  added.  Mr. Sirvello  noted that [the City  of] El                                                               
Paso was  forced to use  an audio  tape system that  required the                                                               
voter  to play  and rewind  repeatedly.   He  said the  coalition                                                               
pursued  the  same lawsuit  throughout  all  of the  counties  in                                                               
Texas.   He mentioned  Beverly Kaufman (ph),  who is  the elected                                                               
county clerk  in Harris  County and  was his  boss at  that time.                                                               
Mr. Sirvello stated  that Ms. Kaufman wanted to  seek a solution,                                                               
even had  there not been the  possibility of a lawsuit.   He said                                                               
[the county  clerk's office] met  with the "blind  coalition" and                                                               
their  attorneys and  decided  to  come up  with  a  way, in  the                                                               
general election of  1998, for the Harris County  blind voters to                                                               
vote on  the punch-card  system, which the  county was  using and                                                               
would be using until November 2002.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. SIRVELLO said  the system chosen was a telephone  system.  He                                                               
detailed  it, as  follows:   If a  blind voter  wished to  vote a                                                               
secret ballot,  the election judge  would dial a  special number,                                                               
which connected  that voter to a  reader who was trained  to read                                                               
to the  blind.   The reader  would explain  that in  a punch-card                                                               
voting system,  a person takes  the punching stylus and  moves it                                                               
down the  holes in the  ballot.  The  reader would let  the blind                                                               
voter know which hole corresponded  with which candidate of which                                                               
race, but could not see the ballot.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 0781                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. SIRVELLO said testing on this  system was done at the Houston                                                               
Council  for  the  Blind  and   showed  a  remarkable  amount  of                                                               
accuracy; however, despite  news coverage and the  efforts of the                                                               
Houston   Council  to   let  disabled   voters  know   about  the                                                               
availability of the system, there  were never more than 25 voters                                                               
who  used  it.   He  explained  that  the  system was  "a  little                                                               
cumbersome."                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. SIRVELLO told the committee  that [the county clerk's office]                                                               
began looking for  a new voting system in 1998  and 1999 because,                                                               
notwithstanding  [the recent  voting  troubles]  in Florida,  its                                                               
staff knew that the Harris  County punch-card system had outlived                                                               
its usefulness; they  were concerned that it  wouldn't even "hold                                                               
our  ballot," because  Harris County  was  a "two-party  county."                                                               
They  considered using  an "optical  system," but  after a  five-                                                               
month  RFP  [request  for proposals]  period  decided  that  that                                                               
system  did not  offer the  disabled  voter any  more secrecy  in                                                               
voting than  the punch cards did,  and that it would  be too much                                                               
of  a lateral  move -  "one  paper-based system  to another,"  he                                                               
said.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 0857                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. SIRVELLO noted  that the current system was  adopted in April                                                               
of 2001 and  is called a "Hart Intercivic system."   He mentioned                                                               
the creation  of a task force,  including Dr. Ed Bradley  (ph) of                                                               
the  Houston  Council   for  the  Blind,  whose   name  had  been                                                               
previously  mentioned  by  Representative Green.    Mr.  Sirvello                                                               
characterized  the current  system as  a "quantum  leap" in  what                                                               
blind voters can do, compared to  what they could do in the past.                                                               
He described the current system, as follows:                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     It  allows the  blind voter  to go  in to  the election                                                                    
     official [and] tell the election  official they wish to                                                                    
     vote a  secret ballot.   The election  official escorts                                                                    
     the blind voter over to  the voting booth that contains                                                                    
     what's  called  "the  disabled activity  unit,"  places                                                                    
     headphones  on  the  head of  the  blind  voter,  [and]                                                                    
     enters  the  access code  for  the  blind voter,  which                                                                    
     brings up that voter's ballot.   ... Then, the voter is                                                                    
     basically on his or her own.   By turning the wheel and                                                                    
     by  pressing   buttons,  which   the  blind   voter  is                                                                    
     instructed  to become  familiar with  first, the  voter                                                                    
     gets  an  audible  response  on   every  one  of  their                                                                    
     choices.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 0946                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     So, for  instance, the first  thing on our  ballot this                                                                    
     fall would be  the race for U.S. Senator  for the state                                                                    
     of Texas.  And when you  turn the knob - turn the wheel                                                                    
     - you  get a response  back:  "United  States Senator."                                                                    
     And the  reading that  is done for  this voter  is also                                                                    
     recorded by readers that are  familiar with reading for                                                                    
     the  blind at  the right  pace at  which a  blind voter                                                                    
     likes  to hear  reading back  to  them.   So, they  are                                                                    
     allowed, then, to  rotate through the ballot.   If they                                                                    
     turn  the  wheel  again,  they   will  hear  the  first                                                                    
     candidate.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     And  in  Texas  the  parties are  listed  by  whichever                                                                    
     party's candidate for governor  received the most votes                                                                    
     in the  state in  the previous  gubernatorial election.                                                                    
     So, in  Texas, what  you might  hear this  November is:                                                                    
     "United  States Senator,  candidate one,  John Koerning                                                                    
     (ph), Republican.   If this  is your choice,  press the                                                                    
     'enter' button now."  Once  you press the enter button,                                                                    
     you get a response back  that says, "You have chosen to                                                                    
     vote for  John Koerning (ph).   If this is OK,  move on                                                                    
     to the  next race."   If this  is not your  choice, you                                                                    
     press the  enter button again.   That erases  that vote                                                                    
     and you move  on to the next candidate,  which could be                                                                    
     "Ken Benson,  Democrat," and so on,  through the entire                                                                    
     ballot.   You're allowed to  skip a race, if  you don't                                                                    
     want to vote  that race at all, and move  as quickly or                                                                    
     as slowly as you wish.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1088                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     At the very end of the  ballot, once you have voted the                                                                    
     last race -  which this November would ...  be the race                                                                    
     for justice  of the peace  - you then would  get what's                                                                    
     called  a ballot  review playback,  in  which case  you                                                                    
     rotate  through  and,  once more,  every  one  of  your                                                                    
     choices is  repeated back  to you, so  that you  can go                                                                    
     back and change  your mind.  Or, if you  missed a race,                                                                    
     you can  go back  and catch that  race the  second time                                                                    
     around.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. SIRVELLO  mentioned some elections  during which  this system                                                               
had been used.  He said  significantly more blind voters use this                                                               
system  and it  was incredibly  well received.   Through  word of                                                               
mouth, Mr.  Sirvello said, [the  county clerk's  office] predicts                                                               
that the  system will be  even more utilized during  the February                                                               
23 early voting for the March 12 primaries.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1150                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. SIRVELLO recounted a  story of a man who had  just had an eye                                                               
exam and  had dilated pupils.   He said the man  asked if someone                                                               
could read the  ballot to him, because the screen  hurt his eyes.                                                               
The election judge offered the man  the use of the headphones, he                                                               
said, and the man thought that was very useful.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. SIRVELLO  mentioned "jelly switches,"  which are  colored red                                                               
and green.   He explained  that they  are useful for  voters with                                                               
immobility in  their hands because  they can use their  elbows or                                                               
wrists on  the jelly switch.   One jelly switch moves  the voters                                                               
through to the next race, and  the other jelly switch casts their                                                               
vote, he  added.  Mr.  Sirvello also  mentioned a "sip  and puff"                                                               
device like  [paralyzed actor] Christopher  Reeve uses.   He said                                                               
the system allows voters who use  this device to plug it into the                                                               
unit.   They would sip to  rotate through the ballot  and puff to                                                               
execute their ballot.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 1336                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON asked  Mr. Sirvello if the  system he spoke                                                               
of allowed the voter to go back numerous times to change a vote.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. SIRVELLO  replied that a  voter can return to  any particular                                                               
race  on a  ballot as  many times  as needed,  without having  to                                                               
rotate through the  entire ballot, until the  button called "cast                                                               
ballot"  is   pushed.    At   that  point,  the  vote   has  been                                                               
electronically recorded, he added.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 1406                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS  said he thought  it was a  wonderful idea                                                               
to allow everyone to use a  secret ballot.  He asked Mr. Sirvello                                                               
to describe the security of the  ballots and to say whether there                                                               
was any chance of anybody misusing the system.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. SIRVELLO  said any system is  only as good as  the people who                                                               
are  operating  it; however,  this  particular  voting system  is                                                               
equipped with  numerous safeguards.   He listed  three "redundant                                                               
storages" of  the ballot:   on  a magnetic  card; on  the "judges                                                               
booth controller,"  which is the  device that actually  sends the                                                               
ballot  to  the voting  device;  and  on each  individual  voting                                                               
device.   He said  someone would  have to  tamper with  all three                                                               
pieces  of  equipment.    Mr. Sirvello  noted  that  [the  county                                                               
clerk's office] has security measures  in the delivery and pickup                                                               
of those pieces of equipment.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 1528                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES  surmised that  this system would  not allow                                                               
illegible votes or double votes.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. SIRVELLO said that was  correct, and he characterized that as                                                               
an added benefit of electric voting  systems.  He noted that [the                                                               
county clerk's  office] had  been using  punch cards  since 1982,                                                               
and he  will be  happy to  get rid  of them  because of  the high                                                               
incidence of "overvote" - too  many voters not understanding when                                                               
they are voting twice in one  race.  In the electronic system the                                                               
county uses,  once a vote  for one candidate  in a race  has been                                                               
executed, a vote for a  second candidate will automatically erase                                                               
the vote for the first one, he  explained.  He added that a voter                                                               
may choose to cast a "no-vote."                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JAMES asked  if  "able" voters  receive the  same                                                               
type of ballot,  and how they would double-check to  be sure that                                                               
they voted for the right person.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 1632                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. SIRVELLO  clarified that  Representative James  was referring                                                               
to a sighted  voter when she used  the word "able."   He said the                                                               
sighted  voter moves  through the  screen the  same way  that the                                                               
disabled voter  does, except instead  of an audio response  he or                                                               
she  gets a  visual response;  the  selection is  lighted on  the                                                               
screen.   The summary  page is  a visual one  in which  the voter                                                               
sees all of the offices on the  left side of the screen and those                                                               
that were  chosen on  the right.   If no  selection is  made, the                                                               
words,  "no selection"  are shown  in red.   The  voter may  then                                                               
choose to  rotate the  wheel down to  that particular  choice and                                                               
press "enter," which  will allow the voter to  select a candidate                                                               
if that vote was previously overlooked.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 1710                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JAMES asked  Mr. Sirvello  to explain  what would                                                               
happen to votes in the case of a power outage.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SIRVELLO replied  that  any type  of  electronic system  has                                                               
alternating  current (AC)  power.   The  system  used by  [Harris                                                               
County] has  an 18-hour battery  backup.   If there were  a power                                                               
outage, the battery  would kick on automatically;  there would be                                                               
no loss of votes or interruption to the voters.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES  commented that it seemed  this system would                                                               
be beneficial to others, not only the disabled.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. SIRVELLO mentioned  a disabled activity unit,  which is taken                                                               
out to  the disabled  voter's car.   It  can be  disconnected, he                                                               
said, because it  has a battery attached to it.   After the voter                                                               
votes on  it, the device is  brought back inside and  plugged in,                                                               
whereby the vote is automatically recorded onto the master unit.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 1815                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FATE mentioned 18  hours of power outage, national                                                               
disasters, and what he called  "the hard-drive memory."  He asked                                                               
Mr. Sirvello,  if voting  information is  transferred, how  it is                                                               
retained and how secure it is.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 1856                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. SIRVELLO  reiterated that there are  two hard-drive memories.                                                               
One is in  the [election] judge's booth  controller, which houses                                                               
the votes that  have been recorded.  Mr. Sirvello  added that the                                                               
system  has the  capacity  to  hold 12  voting  devices that  are                                                               
"attached in  a series."   The booth controller contains  what is                                                               
called  "the  cast-vote record"  for  all  twelve devices.    The                                                               
devices  themselves  contain only  the  votes  cast on  that  one                                                               
device, he  said.  Mr.  Sirvello noted  that the other  device is                                                               
called "the  mobile ballot box."   It  is the primary  source for                                                               
cast-vote records  and is the device  used to count the  votes on                                                               
election night, he added.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 1908                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE asked  Mr.  Sirvello how  much  it costs  to                                                               
change over to the electronic equipment.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. SIRVELLO answered as follows:                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     First of all,  when we put out our RFP,  in addition to                                                                    
     buying  a  voting  system that  would  be  utilized  in                                                                    
     Harris  County  during  our early  voting  by  personal                                                                    
     appearance  --  ...  I don't  know  how  familiar  your                                                                    
     committee is  with early voting by  personal appearance                                                                    
     in  the  State  of  Texas,  but  it  is  a  very  large                                                                    
     phenomenon, and  it goes on  for practically  two weeks                                                                    
     before  election  day, to  the  extent  that almost  20                                                                    
     percent  of our  total  vote now  is  cast during  that                                                                    
     period.   But  in order  to handle  that situation  and                                                                    
     election day voting, we asked  for an electronic voting                                                                    
     system.  For  voting by mail, we asked  for an optical-                                                                    
     scan system, to replace  our punch-card system, because                                                                    
     we didn't  want to use  punch-card for voting  by mail,                                                                    
     either.   So,  ...  we  will be  using  - this  primary                                                                    
     season - an optical-scan system for voting by mail.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     And  then  the third  part  of  our  RFP asked  for  an                                                                    
     election  management  system  that would  replace  what                                                                    
     we've  been using  as an  in-house  system, that  would                                                                    
     totally  manage things  like  polling places,  election                                                                    
     day  officials,  payroll,  current  officials,  all  of                                                                    
     that.   So, it was  one very large package,  and that's                                                                    
     the  way the  RFP  --  but in  order  to  make a  total                                                                    
     changeover,   the  bid   that  was   awarded  to   Hart                                                                    
     Intercivic was $25.2 million.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 2005                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES commented  that the value of  that would not                                                               
necessarily  relate  to  Alaska   [because  of  a  difference  in                                                               
population].                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. SIRVELLO responded that [Harris  County's] figures were based                                                               
not  only  on  its  population,  but  also  on  its  1.8  million                                                               
registered voters.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  COGHILL noted  that  the entire  population  of Alaska  is                                                               
620,000.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 2075                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HELEN CRAIG,  testifying via  teleconference, told  the committee                                                               
she is a member of  a sign-language group called "Silent Bridges"                                                               
and  of  [Alaska  Independent] Blind,  with  Sandy  Sanderson  as                                                               
president.    She  mentioned  that  Mr.  Sanderson  and  her  own                                                               
husband, Tony  Craig, were  present in the  committee room.   She                                                               
stated  her  support  of  HB  320.   She  indicated  there  is  a                                                               
population  of  deaf and  hard-of-hearing  people  and people  in                                                               
wheelchairs  who live  in Alaska.   She  said the  aforementioned                                                               
electronic voting system  sounded good, but asked if  it could be                                                               
adapted for someone who is deaf as well as blind.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 2190                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. ACHEE responded  that the Division of  Elections had recently                                                               
held  a  meeting  with its  community  advisory  panel  regarding                                                               
accessible  voting for  the visually  impaired, during  which the                                                               
topic addressed in Ms. Craig's  question had been mentioned.  Ms.                                                               
Achee clarified  that Mr. Sirvello only  described equipment that                                                               
his  county uses.    She  said there  was  a representative  from                                                               
Lockheed  Martin  to  show  another   piece  of  equipment  being                                                               
considered by  the Division of  Elections.  She noted  that every                                                               
[model] of equipment  was different, some with  directions on the                                                               
equipment itself.  She stated  her belief that the division would                                                               
choose the equipment  that met the needs of most  people.  Of the                                                               
four pieces  of equipment that  Ms. Achee  saw, she said  none of                                                               
them offered  a Braille option  for the ballot;  furthermore, she                                                               
said  she did  not know  whether  that feature  existed on  other                                                               
companies'  systems.   She said  that  would "come  up" when  the                                                               
Division of Elections made its  decision regarding what equipment                                                               
to buy.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 2252                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. CRAIG said  there are many voters around the  state who could                                                               
benefit from an  electronic voting system.  She said,  "This is a                                                               
great way  to ensure  that their patriotic  spirit is  also being                                                               
addressed."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 2312                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FATE questioned sending a  bill with a zero fiscal                                                               
note  to the  House  Finance Committee  when  the equipment  will                                                               
actually cost a considerable amount of money.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GREEN  informed   Representative  Fate  that  the                                                               
equipment will  be added "as  it's replaced."   In response  to a                                                               
request for  clarification from Chair Coghill,  he explained that                                                               
as  the equipment  that is  now in  use is  replaced, it  will be                                                               
replaced with equipment "receptive to the sight-impaired."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 2392                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ANDRE  SWOOP, Representative,  Lockheed Martin,  came before  the                                                               
committee to give a demonstration  of an electronic voting system                                                               
developed by  the combined efforts  of Lockheed Martin,  I Paper,                                                               
and Diversified  Technology.  He  began his demonstration  at the                                                               
moment  at which  a  voter would  be stepping  up  to the  voting                                                               
device, which he said weighed  8 pounds and presently was powered                                                               
by  battery  backup.    He divided  his  demonstration  into  two                                                               
categories:   First, Mr. Swoop  showed the committee  members how                                                               
the machine worked  for a sighted voter.  Second,  he showed them                                                               
how easily  adaptable it was for  the use of a  visually impaired                                                               
voter.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. SWOOP demonstrated  the steps a sighted voter  would take, as                                                               
follows:  The  voter is given a PCMCIA  [Personal Computer Memory                                                               
Card International Association] card to  swipe.  The pages of the                                                               
ballot show one  at a time, with each race  and each candidate of                                                               
that race listed.  A  number appears beside each candidate listed                                                               
on the  screen.  The  voter's selection  is made by  pressing the                                                               
number next to  the candidate's name on the screen.   Changes can                                                               
be made by  pressing another button.  A space  is available for a                                                               
write-in, with  a letter keypad  to the  right of the  screen for                                                               
the voter  to type in  the name.   The final page  summarizes all                                                               
selections  made.   There  are two  buttons on  the  board.   The                                                               
"back-page"   button  allows   the  voter   to  change   previous                                                               
selections.    The  green  button   records  the  ballot  -  "the                                                               
equivalent of taking a ballot card  and dropping it in the ballot                                                               
box" -  and an audible  message is  heard letting the  voter know                                                               
that the ballot has been recorded.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. SWOOP explained that at that  point, the voter would hand the                                                               
card in to  a poll worker who would use  a "smart card activation                                                               
device"  to clear  the card  of prior  data so  that it  could be                                                               
reused.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SWOOP next  detailed  the steps  a  visually impaired  voter                                                               
would  take:   After  inserting  the  PCMCIA card,  the  visually                                                               
impaired voter  uses three buttons,  which control moving  to the                                                               
next page, scrolling  back to a previous page,  and selecting the                                                               
candidate.   When the voter pushes  the green button to  select a                                                               
candidate, a  recorded voice gives  a verbal confirmation  of the                                                               
choice made.   After  the visually  impaired voter  has completed                                                               
the ballot,  the recorded  voice gives a  summary of  the choices                                                               
made.   Pushing the  green button  indicates acceptance  of those                                                               
choices,  at which  point the  voter will  retrieve the  card and                                                               
submit it to the poll worker.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. SWOOP  told the committee  that the electronic  voting device                                                               
is  very flexible;  it can  produce  a custom-made  ballot.   The                                                               
software is  included, he  added.   The cost  of the  machines is                                                               
approximately $1,700  per unit,  depending on  the volume  of the                                                               
order.  Additionally, Mr. Swoop said  one would need a smart card                                                               
activation  device and  a printer,  which would  have a  combined                                                               
cost of approximately $1,000.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 2840                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON asked  Mr. Swoop  how a  visually impaired                                                               
person would execute a write-in.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. SWOOP replied that it  would require a modicum of assistance,                                                               
because  it would  involve the  use of  the keypad;  however, the                                                               
company  is investigating  possibilities of  adding Braille  as a                                                               
feature.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 2860                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS mentioned  that his  mother suffers  from                                                               
macular  degeneration and  has  problems with  [the  size of  the                                                               
buttons]  on telephones.    He observed  that  the model  machine                                                               
before the  committee had one  large green button, but  the other                                                               
two buttons were  small.  He stated his belief  that someone with                                                               
visual impairment  would have difficulty knowing  which button to                                                               
push.  He also  mentioned the keyboard.  He said  he was not sure                                                               
the  company had  perfected  the  machine yet,  and  he hoped  it                                                               
would.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SWOOP conceded  that  the device  before  the committee  was                                                               
first-generation.   He  said  one of  the  considerations of  the                                                               
company was  to make those  two buttons  not only larger,  but in                                                               
the shape  of raised arrows that  would be tangible.   One of the                                                               
arrows  would face  right  to indicate  "page  forward," and  the                                                               
other would face left to indicate "page back."                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. SWOOP,  regarding the aforementioned software,  added that it                                                               
has a  variable-sized font,  multiple language  capabilities, and                                                               
audio  capabilities, all  included  in the  package  price.   Mr.                                                               
Swoop continued, as follows:                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Once a poll  is opened, the poll manager  would come to                                                                    
     each machine  and print  what is  called "an  open poll                                                                    
     report."    Each  device  can   be  connected  to  this                                                                    
     portable printer here, and you  get a hardcopy printout                                                                    
     of what's  on that  machine before  any voter  comes in                                                                    
     and touches it.  So, you  know what the benchmark is in                                                                    
     terms of verifying  that all the machines  are at zero,                                                                    
     OK.   At that  point, when that's  all done,  the polls                                                                    
     will be open.  ... You would allow the  voting to occur                                                                    
     during the day,  and at the end of  the day, similarly,                                                                    
     the  poll manager  would go  to  each device  and do  a                                                                    
     "close poll"  function.  ...  At that point,  you would                                                                    
     have the  ballot data  stored in  flash memory  on this                                                                    
     machine.   It would also  be copied onto a  PCMCIA card                                                                    
     such  as this  ... and  also on  a printout.   So,  you                                                                    
     would have it on three places.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     As  far as  trying  to  get the  results  to a  central                                                                    
     election  facility,  I  realize there  are  some  great                                                                    
     distances between  locations here  in Alaska.   I'm not                                                                    
     sure  exactly  how  that's  done  today,  but  I  would                                                                    
     imagine  you  could phone  that  information  in, in  a                                                                    
     preliminary form,  followed up  by the shipment  of the                                                                    
     hardcopy  and/or the  actual data  card for  historical                                                                    
     purposes or verification purposes.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. SWOOP  also mentioned that the  voter could use a  headset to                                                               
maintain privacy.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 02-4, SIDE B                                                                                                               
Number 2973                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DARRELL  NELSON, Community  Activity Coordinator,  Access Alaska,                                                               
testifying  via teleconference,  referred  to page  2, line[s]  5                                                               
[and 6] of the bill and  asked the committee to change the words,                                                               
"visually impaired" to "persons  with disabilities", and "without                                                   
assistance"  to "in  secret".   Without that  change, Mr.  Nelson                                                       
said that part of the bill  addresses only those who are visually                                                               
impaired and excludes many people with other disabilities.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 2907                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL  told Mr. Nelson  that was  an issue that  would be                                                               
addressed.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  NELSON  noted  that  he is  visually  impaired,  is  hearing                                                               
impaired, and has Bell's palsy.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 2825                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BONNIE NELSON, testifying via  teleconference, told the committee                                                               
that  she  was  a  teacher  and  has  worked  with  many  people,                                                               
including Mr. Nelson,  whom she helped to  achieve his bachelor's                                                               
degree.   She indicated  that many  people have  reading problems                                                               
for  reasons other  than visual  impairment.   Furthermore,  many                                                               
people are  both visually impaired  and hearing impaired.   Those                                                               
people  could  benefit from  voting  electronically.   She  said,                                                               
"This is  a wonderful bill, and  we're 100 percent in  support of                                                               
it."   She added  that she  agreed with Mr.  Nelson that  any new                                                               
machines purchased should  be accessible to all  persons with all                                                               
disabilities.  She mentioned an  eventual capability of voting by                                                               
mail, which would  help those with disabilities at  home, as well                                                               
as people  at work  who cannot  leave to go  to a  polling place.                                                               
Ms.  Nelson said  in some  cases it  would be  impossible not  to                                                               
assist a  voter, but  she stressed  the importance  of [equipping                                                               
people with the means] to vote in secrecy.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 2663                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked Ms. Nelson  if she had heard the prior                                                               
testimony regarding  taking the  electronic voting  equipment out                                                               
to the disabled voter's car.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. NELSON  answered she had.   She  stated her belief  that that                                                               
was  an important  feature.   She suggested  the ability  to take                                                               
laptop computers  and CDs [compact  disks] out to  people's homes                                                               
exists now,  and "it still  would not  generate ... the  cost ...                                                               
that we're looking at."   Ms. Nelson clarified that she supported                                                               
the use of new technology;  however, existing technology could be                                                               
used in the meantime.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 2565                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GREEN   stated  his  belief  that   Ms.  Nelson's                                                               
questions would be more appropriately  brought to the Division of                                                               
Elections  board   members  when   the  time  comes   to  replace                                                               
equipment.   He said advances are  being made every year.   "This                                                               
bill  just authorizes  that ...  to happen,"  he concluded.   "We                                                               
won't be  involved in  the actual selection  of equipment.   That                                                               
will be by Division of Elections."                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 2540                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. NELSON  asked if HB 320  would authorize the use  of "CDs and                                                               
floppies" so people can use their computers to vote by mail.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL replied  he did not think that was  in the scope of                                                               
the  bill; however,  it  would  not limit  that  discussion.   He                                                               
added, "That may be one question we'll look for an answer to."                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 2474                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
LYNNE  KORAL, President,  Alaska  Independent  Blind (AIB),  came                                                               
before the  committee.  She  emphasized that it was  blind people                                                               
who  first  brought  this  issue  to  Texas,  as  well  as  other                                                               
locations around the country.  She  said this issue is one of the                                                               
priorities for  AIB's parent  organization, the  American Council                                                               
of the  Blind, of  which the  Houston Council of  the Blind  is a                                                               
member.   She mentioned a  legislative dinner, presented  by AIB,                                                               
and  characterized   it  as  "a   very  electrical   and  magical                                                               
experience."     The   [electronic  voting]   device  from   Hart                                                               
Intercivic  [was shown  at  that dinner].    Ms. Koral  submitted                                                               
paperwork  [available in  the  committee  packet] regarding  both                                                               
Hart Intercivic  and Diebold, formerly  known as  Global Election                                                               
Systems.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. KORAL  said, "We know that  the people who have  brought this                                                               
issue  to  the forefront  are  the  blind and  visually  impaired                                                               
people who  first brought it up,  and we are very  concerned that                                                               
other  people  with  disabilities  have access  to  vote."    She                                                               
expressed excitement regarding the  "sip and puff" technology and                                                               
the tactile  switches for the  Hart Intercivic  "eSlate" machine.                                                               
Ms.  Koral  noted that  she  has  also  served  as chair  of  the                                                               
community  advisory committee  on voter  accessibility, which  is                                                               
sponsored by  the Division of Elections.   A machine has  not yet                                                               
been selected  because no one  machine serves all  functions, she                                                               
said.  She  concurred with a former  testifier's statement, which                                                               
recommended  choosing a  machine  with  the broadest  application                                                               
available.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. KORAL continued, as follows:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     We  have  been  trying  to  talk  to  the  Division  of                                                                    
     Elections -  and thank goodness they  are listening now                                                                    
     - since  1994, since  Frank Haas asked  for large-print                                                                    
     ballots.   I'm  not going  to let  this bill  be either                                                                    
     diluted or  confused by changing  it substantially.   I                                                                    
     would  prefer that  not to  happen.   We were  the ones                                                                    
     that  brought   this  issue  to  legislators,   and  we                                                                    
     absolutely appreciate  the ... support that  we know is                                                                    
     out  there.    And  just  to prove  that:    the  Kenai                                                                    
     independent  living [center's]  was  the first  support                                                                    
     letter that  we received and that  Representative Green                                                                    
     received.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 2290                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KORAL stated  that  voting without  assistance  was the  key                                                               
issue here.   She said  blind people have  had to deal  with this                                                               
all of their  lives.  Ms. Koral opined that  voting in private is                                                               
the right  of every human  being.   Ms. Koral mentioned  two now-                                                               
deceased members  who [dealt  with this issue]:   Frank  Haas and                                                               
Don  Graham  (ph).    She  recounted that  Mr.  Graham  had  been                                                               
horrified when  someone in his  small town pointed out  they knew                                                               
how he had voted.   Referring to Mr. Nelson's previous testimony,                                                               
Ms. Koral said she would not  mind if the words "in secrecy" were                                                           
inserted  into the  bill,  but  only as  an  addition  to, not  a                                                               
substitution  for  "without  assistance".    She  indicated  that                                                           
people would ask for assistance if  they still needed it.  People                                                               
with visual  impairment want  to have their  lives back  and make                                                               
their own decisions  about voting, she said.  She  noted that the                                                               
next witness - Sandy Sanderson - was the founder of AIB.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 2185                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL responded, as follows:                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     I  think  what  we'll  do   is,  when  we  get  to  the                                                                    
     department,  we  might ask  if  the  "secrecy" part  is                                                                    
     presumed,  and   that  this  is  just   adding  to  the                                                                    
     "assistance" part.  And I  think that question might be                                                                    
     answered in  the affirmative if  I understand  our laws                                                                    
     correctly.  So, we'll bring that point up, though.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 2100                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SANDY SANDERSON came  before the committee in support  of HB 320.                                                               
He said  the bill  would no  longer make  it necessary  for blind                                                               
people to  be accompanied by their  spouse and to have  to assume                                                               
that their vote would  be as they wanted it to  be.  He mentioned                                                               
opposing  political  beliefs  between  spouses.   He  stated  his                                                               
belief that the [electronic voting]  machines have the capability                                                               
to  give instructions  in various  languages, and  he noted  that                                                               
many of the  elders throughout the state cannot  read the printed                                                               
word.   He  mentioned others  who would  benefit, such  as people                                                               
with dyslexia  or those who  are illiterate.  Mr.  Sanderson told                                                               
the committee that  there are 12,500 blind people in  the state -                                                               
more  per capita  than in  any  other state.   He  said he  hopes                                                               
legislators realize  that they are  there because of  "the vote,"                                                               
and he hopes they cherish that as much as he does.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 1974                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL  CRAIG, Member,  Alaska Independent  Blind, came  before the                                                               
committee in  support of HB 320.   He told the  committee that he                                                               
was declared legally blind in 1994  and has been working with the                                                               
AIB  since then.    He added  that  he was  "down  to 80  percent                                                               
hearing" in his  right ear and deaf  in his left ear.   He stated                                                               
his hope that the Division  of Elections would consider those who                                                               
are deaf  and blind.  Although  there is a low  incidence rate in                                                               
Alaska, he said  there are "a number of elders  in the state that                                                               
are losing  their sight  and hearing,  so it's  an underestimated                                                               
area."   He indicated his  aunt, who speaks mostly  Tlingit since                                                               
having  a stroke  and doesn't  understand written  English [would                                                               
benefit from the electronic voting].                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 1883                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FATE asked  if the cause of the  high incidence of                                                               
blind people in the state had been determined.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. CRAIG cited  the following reasons:   numerous high-risk jobs                                                               
in the state; and the  village of Minto, where virtually everyone                                                               
has  [retinitis  pigmentosa]  in  his/her genes.    Most  of  the                                                               
children  there are  legally  blind  by age  17,  he  noted.   In                                                               
response  to a  follow-up  question by  Representative Fate,  Mr.                                                               
Craig replied that the incidents are statewide, not just rural.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 1828                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. KORAL  noted additional causes:   tuberculosis, diabetes, and                                                               
lack of ophthalmologic services.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 1814                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE said  he appreciated  "the  courage and  the                                                               
tenacity that you folks have shown in this."                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL  noted that one of  the witnesses no longer  at the                                                               
stand  had commented  that [these  visually impaired  testifiers]                                                               
were known as "the pit bulls of Alaska."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 1775                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JUNE  HAAS,  wife  of  the  late  Frank  Haas,  came  before  the                                                               
committee  and spoke  of her  late husband.   She  said he  was a                                                               
disabled   veteran  who   became  legally   blind  in   1984  and                                                               
fortunately, through the VA  [Veterans' Administration], was able                                                               
to go to Palo Alto to  receive very good training [in adapting to                                                               
blindness].   Ms. Haas added that  people could not tell  just by                                                               
looking  at Mr.  Haas that  he was  blind.   She said  during the                                                               
eighth week  out of nine,  the spouse  of the blind  person joins                                                               
the training to  learn the capabilities and  limitations of their                                                               
spouse.   The instructors  give the spouse  ideas for  home life,                                                               
but   also   "charge  the   spouse   with   keeping  the   person                                                               
independent," she said.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. HAAS  told the  committee that  Mr. Haas  had been  active in                                                               
getting "access  vans" on  the ferries  and having  the sidewalks                                                               
cut properly to allow for wheelchair  access.  The one thing that                                                               
he had not been able to  convince the legislature of was the need                                                               
for independence  in voting; consequently,  Ms. Haas  stated, she                                                               
was pleased  when AIB  brought up the  issue to  the legislature.                                                               
She  conceded that  she  and  her husband  had  not always  voted                                                               
alike,  and said  Mr.  Haas had  wanted  to be  able  to vote  by                                                               
himself, without her in the booth with him.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. HAAS  said that Alaska  is growing older  as a state  and the                                                               
population of  the Borough of  Haines is growing older,  as well.                                                               
In the past, older people  were "shipped down stateside," but now                                                               
it  is  possible for  them  to  stay in  Alaska.    She told  the                                                               
committee that  Haines has  had many issues  decided by  a single                                                               
vote, including the office of the current mayor.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS.  HAAS  noted that  there  were  many  people in  Haines  with                                                               
macular  degeneration  and  diabetic retinopathy.    Many  Native                                                               
Alaskans  suffer from  diabetes,  which is  not  detected in  the                                                               
early stages.  Ms. Haas recounted  an incident in Haines in which                                                               
one woman with macular degeneration  came to the polling place to                                                               
vote:   The woman  could not  stand at length,  and there  was no                                                               
place for  her to sit.   After 15 minutes  the woman was  given a                                                               
ballot.  She  sat out on the stairway with  her magnifying glass,                                                               
in  full public  view,  and she  voted.   The  experience was  so                                                               
traumatic that the woman said she would not vote again.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 1394                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. HAAS  said there are  several votes, statewide, that  are not                                                               
being counted,  because the [visually  impaired] voters  find the                                                               
process  too   difficult,  degrading,  and  discouraging.     She                                                               
mentioned a blind student presently  in school who is doing well.                                                               
She asked the  committee if "we" are going to  tell her, when she                                                               
turns 18,  that she  can't vote  unless she  has someone  else to                                                               
help her.   She said, "So, we  have quite a few  students in this                                                               
state that  are getting  very good training  - we're  helping our                                                               
people -  but we  need to  give them  the independence  that they                                                               
need."   Ms.  Haas mentioned  her belief  that the  committee had                                                               
heard from  Legionnaires, Elks, the  city council, and  so forth,                                                               
regarding this  issue, because those  groups all  appreciate what                                                               
Mr.  Haas  has  done  in  the  past.    She  concluded  that  she                                                               
appreciated the efforts of the committee regarding this issue.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 1351                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL  listed some topics  to consider regarding  HB 320,                                                               
as  follows:   the  connectivity  of [the  bill]  to the  present                                                               
system; an  explanation of  the fiscal note  for the  bill, which                                                               
has  a House  Standing  Finance Committee  referral; and  privacy                                                               
issues.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 1310                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JANET KOWALSKI,  Director, Division  of Elections, Office  of the                                                               
Lieutenant  Governor,  came  before  the  committee  and  thanked                                                               
Representative  Green for  the "fairly  artful"  language of  the                                                               
fiscal note.   She said she had been researching  the project for                                                               
about  a year  before the  topic of  legislation was  approached.                                                               
She stated it was clear to  her that the current [polling] system                                                               
is  working  and  it  would  be  imprudent  to  replace  it;  the                                                               
technology has  evolved, so there  is no reason [the  Division of                                                               
Elections] should not be offering "these services."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 1272                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KOWALSKI informed  members  that the  zero  fiscal note  was                                                               
based  on  two things:    First,  the  language  in the  bill  is                                                               
permissive, rather than  restrictive; it states that  if money is                                                               
spent, it  must be spent  on accessible equipment.   Ms. Kowalski                                                               
noted that  the Division of  Elections routinely  buys everything                                                               
from  batteries to  software upgrades  to machine  warranties and                                                               
repairs.  She continued as follows:                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     The  legislature  did  pass statutes  last  session  to                                                                    
     grant the  division early voting  - you heard  a little                                                                    
     bit about that.  Early  voting, essentially, is 15 days                                                                    
     before the election.   We are asking  for equipment for                                                                    
     that as part of that program. ...                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     A  third   opportunity  -  that  certainly   we're  not                                                                    
     counting  on  - is  we  are  working closely  with  our                                                                    
     congressional  delegation in  Washington,  D.C.   There                                                                    
     has been  a voter  reform bill  that's passed  both the                                                                    
     House and the Senate.   They're different.  We're going                                                                    
     to conference.   Both those bills  contain provisions -                                                                    
     after  the  Florida episode  -  for  states to  improve                                                                    
     their  voting  equipment.    So,  our  D.C.  office  is                                                                    
     working  on making  sure that  that money  would extend                                                                    
     for accessible equipment. ...                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 1100                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     In the meantime, if none  of those things happen, given                                                                    
     the  state's fiscal  status right  now, what  this bill                                                                    
     says  is, "OK,  you can  stay  where you  are, but  the                                                                    
     minute you  go forward, then you're  going forward with                                                                    
     accessible equipment.   So, in the  polling place, most                                                                    
     of these  machines require  one voter at  a time.   So,                                                                    
     what  we're looking  at as  a practical  matter is  our                                                                    
     optical-scan  machine will  still stay  in the  polling                                                                    
     place, and voters who want  to use the paper ballot ...                                                                    
     can  do so,  and voters  who want  more assistance  can                                                                    
     then  use the  machines.   And as  we talked  ... about                                                                    
     where  do we  put them,  it's been  a fairly  strategic                                                                    
     discussion.  ... We  only  have one  or  two to  start.                                                                    
     Should we  have them  in regional  offices, maybe  at a                                                                    
     private nonprofit?   We  already do that.   We  have an                                                                    
     absentee  station at  Access  Alaska,  which is  highly                                                                    
     utilized.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 1074                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     The privacy issue, to me,  is just very, very powerful.                                                                    
     Folks testify.   You know, they're right:   you're in a                                                                    
     booth and you're talking.   We have other programs, and                                                                    
     I know you have a question  on that, and I'll have Gail                                                                    
     [Fenumiai] answer  that.  But  the bottom line is:   if                                                                    
     you are a blind voter  in Alaska, you cannot vote right                                                                    
     now in  total privacy;  you must  have assistance.   We                                                                    
     have  a  strong  program  for that,  but  there  is  no                                                                    
     privacy.    So I  think,  given  ... the  finances  and                                                                    
     everything  else, that  this  is a  time  to make  this                                                                    
     choice.   And  instead of  trying to  fund a  system in                                                                    
     every  precinct,  I  think  that we  can  look  at  our                                                                    
     existing resources,  again, the normal  operating funds                                                                    
     we use to maintain.   And then, hopefully, we would see                                                                    
     some federal  money, as well.   So, I wouldn't  let the                                                                    
     lack  of a  fiscal  note stop  the  project, because  I                                                                    
     think it's very worthy.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  COGHILL  asked  if  there was  other  in-home  voting,  in                                                               
addition to Access Alaska.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 0999                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
GAIL   FENUMIAI,  Election   Program   Specialist,  Division   of                                                               
Elections,  Office of  the Lieutenant  Governor, came  before the                                                               
committee  to respond  to Chair  Coghill's query.   She  said the                                                               
division has a  process called "special needs voting"  by which a                                                               
voter  can choose  a representative  to  bring a  ballot to  that                                                               
voter's home and return the ballot  to an election official.  The                                                               
representative may provide assistance to that voter, if needed.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.   FENUMIAI,  in   regard  to   Chair  Coghill's   mention  of                                                               
"connectivity," said  any system  purchased by the  division that                                                               
meets the  needs of  the visually impaired  would be  useful with                                                               
the current system.  She continued:                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     The  obvious implication  is  the  manufacturer of  the                                                                    
     current system  we have has  a system that  would allow                                                                    
     the  visually  impaired to  ...  vote  a secret  ballot                                                                    
     [and]  would  connect  with  our  system,  without  any                                                                    
     problem at  all.  The  other systems could be  used and                                                                    
     would be  treated, probably, in  the manner of  a hand-                                                                    
     count  precinct,   of  which   the  results   would  be                                                                    
     tabulated electronically, and then  we would treat them                                                                    
     as  a hand  count  and manually  enter  them into  this                                                                    
     current system that we have.   ... There shouldn't be a                                                                    
     problem with (indisc.) together.   There wouldn't be an                                                                    
     electronic  merger   tabulation  of  the   two  systems                                                                    
     together.   It  would probably  have  to be  more of  a                                                                    
     manual process, but it is doable.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 0892                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS complimented  the  Division of  Elections                                                               
and its  system.  He  said he assumed  that as new  equipment was                                                               
purchased,  it  would  be  limited  to  one  polling  place,  for                                                               
instance, so that  a visually impaired person would  have to make                                                               
the  choice to  travel to  that polling  place in  order to  vote                                                               
unassisted.  He  asked what happens to that vote  cast outside of                                                               
that voter's usual precinct, and when it would be counted.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 0798                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOWALSKI answered, as follows:                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     That's  an  excellent  question.   If,  under  ...  our                                                                    
     current  policies  and  procedures,  and  statutes  and                                                                    
     regulations,  I  wanted  to  vote  on  a  secret-ballot                                                                    
     machine and I  didn't want to vote ahead of  time.  ...                                                                    
     [I'd] go  to a polling  place.  Now, under  our current                                                                    
     system  you  would  vote  a  question  or  a  challenge                                                                    
     ballot.   Two things on  that:  Number one,  both sides                                                                    
     of  the federal  legislation require  that states  have                                                                    
     assistance for that.   We already do so;  we're in good                                                                    
     shape.  The manufacturers who  are following all this -                                                                    
     virtually,  all four  of them  - were  able to  show us                                                                    
     that,  in  that  key  card you  saw  demonstrated,  the                                                                    
     polling  place worker  can actually  program that  as a                                                                    
     question  ballot.    And  so  it's  segregated  in  the                                                                    
     database,  and  so  our  state  review  board  and  our                                                                    
     regional  question ballot  board  would  have the  same                                                                    
     review  function that  they  do now  with  paper.   But                                                                    
     under  current policies  and procedures  it would  be a                                                                    
     partial count.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     However -  and we  haven't reviewed the  other statutes                                                                    
     thoroughly  -  all  of  these   machines  allow  us  to                                                                    
     program,  say, 2,000  different  ballot types.   If  we                                                                    
     were to set up ...  early voting, [for instance], I can                                                                    
     walk in Anchorage  [at the polling place]  and be sure,                                                                    
     either through an  absentee or early voting.   We could                                                                    
     actually  set up  all the  ballots on  these computers,                                                                    
     like we do,  say, for absentee voting  at the airports.                                                                    
     We look  you up in the  computer so we can  get you the                                                                    
     right  ballot.   We  could actually  do something  like                                                                    
     that.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 0693                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     I think that there is momentum  on this project.  I had                                                                    
     Greg Moyer, who's the new  city clerk of Anchorage, sit                                                                    
     on my  community advisory committee the  last couple of                                                                    
     days, and he  kept saying to me, "We could  buy some of                                                                    
     these."   He  was very  excited by  the technology.   I                                                                    
     think  all  of us  in  the  administrative chairs  felt                                                                    
     strongly  about  the  security  that  you  asked  about                                                                    
     earlier  ....    All   these  machines  have  redundant                                                                    
     systems.   And, as the  person sitting here, I  have to                                                                    
     tell  you that  that is  a huge  concern of  mine.   On                                                                    
     election night,  I don't even  breathe until  the modem                                                                    
     board lights. ... And it  works beautifully every time,                                                                    
     and  we've done  our homework  and our  testing, but  I                                                                    
     can't breathe until  the first results come in.   So, I                                                                    
     really  do  think  that  ...  it  would  grow  without,                                                                    
     necessarily, a very  formal "we're going to  go out and                                                                    
     replace them all at once."   Other municipalities would                                                                    
     be able  to buy ...  one, two machines.   They'd borrow                                                                    
     our equipment.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 0591                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FATE  mentioned page  2, lines  4-6, of  the bill.                                                               
He said this really does have some  kind of a cost.  He said that                                                               
cost may  be pending,  but because of  current problems  with the                                                               
budget gap,  the committee really  needs to know [what  that cost                                                               
is].   Notwithstanding  that, Representative  Fate said  he would                                                               
like to see HB 320 move out of committee.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 0494                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES, based upon her  years as a legislator, told                                                               
Representative  Fate that  even  if  the bill  is  passed out  of                                                               
committee with  a fiscal note  and is  sent to the  House Finance                                                               
Standing  Committee,  it  is  possible   for  the  House  Finance                                                               
Standing Committee  to pass the  legislation without  funding the                                                               
fiscal note.  She said, "When  you have something like this, when                                                               
there is  no scheduled time for  which this is going  to be done,                                                               
there's no  way to attach  a fiscal note  to it, and  it probably                                                               
would  mean,  possibly, an  appropriation  in  the next  budget."                                                               
Representative James  stated her belief  that a zero  fiscal note                                                               
on HB 320 was appropriate.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 0364                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FATE moved to report  HB 320 out of committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  zero  fiscal                                                               
note.   There being no  objections, HB 320  was moved out  of the                                                               
House State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                         

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