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Time Running Out for California's Voting Machines

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Voting booths at Hermosa Beach City Hall during California primary. (Daniel Sofer/hermosawave.net)

Going into a presidential election year, Secretary of State Alex Padilla says voting equipment in all of California’s counties is nearing the end of its life expectancy. He says the situation is becoming urgent, and could turn disastrous as it did in 2000.

“Most of us remember Florida that year, butterfly ballots, hanging chads,” he says. "And many experts point to the aging voting systems of Florida as responsible for the crisis that triggered the U.S. court’s intervention in the determination of who won the presidential election."

Padilla is pushing for about $450 million to replace the current equipment. He says the best path forward would be for the state and counties to work together on coming up with the money.

Padilla says this is also a good opportunity to modernize California’s voting system.

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“While our voting equipment is over a decade old, how we run elections is decades, decades older,” he says.

Padilla says technology available today can be used to let voters choose when, where and how to cast a ballot. He says technology can also provide more voting access to people with disabilities and those who speak another language.

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