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Florida to give paper receipt in 2008 elections, governor says

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Published: Thursday February 1, 2007
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Florida, whose ballot fiasco delayed for weeks the outcome of the 2000 elections, will replace by 2008 voting machines that do not leave a paper trail, Governor Charlie Crist has said.

"Our goal is to increase voter confidence and ensure Floridians have confidence in the voting process," said Crist, whose budget sets aside 32.5 million dollars to replace touch-screen machines that do not leave a paper count or to retrofit existing machines.

Florida, whose 25 electoral votes put President George W. Bush over the top in 2000, took a month to re-count ballots cast on mechanical machines that often made it difficult for officials to know the voters' intent.

Bush provided federal money to replace the mechanical machines with electronic ones, which are also controversial because they eliminate all possibility of a hand recount, as in 2000.

"Computer touch-screen voting has been the subject of a litany of problems in our state," said Howard Simon, director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida.

"The ultimate goal is for voting systems to be upgraded to provide for an accurate and reliable vote, with the capacity for a meaningful recount if necessary, together with full disability and language minority access in the same system," he said.

In November 2008 US voters will elect a president to replace Bush, as well as one-third of US senators, all members of the House of Representatives and a host of state and local offices.