Legislature(2001 - 2002)

02/26/2002 11:10 AM RLS

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
REPRESENTATIVE  JOE  GREEN,  prime sponsor  of  HB  320-ELECTRONIC                                                          
BALLOTING EQUIPMENT,  explained that the  purpose of HB 320  is to                                                          
purchase equipment  that will allow sight-impaired  voters privacy                                                              
in the polling place.   Rather than have a second  person read the                                                              
ballot to  the voter and mark  it, voting equipment will  be sound                                                              
activated  so that the  voter can  listen to  and mark the  ballot                                                              
electronically.  HB 320 does not  require the Division of Election                                                              
to  purchase  the equipment  now,  it  merely provides  that  when                                                              
existing  equipment needs  to be replaced,  it purchase  equipment                                                              
with this ability. This equipment  has been used very successfully                                                              
in Harris County, Texas for several years.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN  noted HB 320 was amended on  the House floor                                                              
to  reflect  a  similar  bill introduced  by  Senator  Leman.  The                                                              
amendment expanded  the bill to  purchase equipment  that provides                                                              
privacy  for not only  sight-impaired, but  for other  handicapped                                                              
voters.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS  said Darryl  Nelson from  Eagle River advocated  at                                                              
the  Anchorage   Caucus   for  changes   for  other  voters   with                                                              
disabilities.  He thanked Representative  Green for accepting that                                                              
change to the bill.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY  asked how  long this equipment  has been  used in                                                              
Harris County.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN  said he believes it has been  used for a few                                                              
years, between three  and five. The same group  that presented the                                                              
equipment to  the House  State Affairs  Committee presented  it to                                                              
the Texas  Legislature but the  latest equipment differs  a little                                                              
from what is being used in Texas.  The equipment is about the size                                                              
of a laptop  computer and has three  dials with which to  hear the                                                              
ballot, make a choice, and make changes.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COWDERY  asked if  the  equipment  is user  friendly  for                                                              
people who are not computer literate.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said it is.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  PHILLIPS  announced  that  all  committee  members  were                                                              
present.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. RUSS  KELLY, intern for  Senator Leman, informed  members that                                                              
he worked  closely with  Representative Green's  staff on  SB 258,                                                              
the companion bill  to HB 320.  Senator Leman  is comfortable with                                                              
HB 320 as amended and supports it.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT asked if the bill has a new the fiscal note.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
An indiscernible response was made.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY moved to approve HB 320 am with the House fiscal                                                                
note for calendaring at the Chair's discretion.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN PHILLIPS  announced that  with no  opposition, HB  320 am                                                              
will be  placed on tomorrow's  calendar.   There being  no further                                                              
business to  come before the  committee, he adjourned  the meeting                                                              
at 11:18 a.m.                                                                                                                   

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