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.

“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.

Time Running Out for California’s Voting Machines 3 March,2016Katie Orr


Katie Orr

Katie Orr is a Sacramento-based reporter for KQED’s Politics and Government  Desk, covering the state Capitol and a variety of issues including women in politics, voting and elections and legislation. Prior to joining KQED in 2016, Katie was state government reporter for Capital Public Radio in Sacramento. She’s also worked for KPBS in San Diego, where she covered City Hall.

Katie received her masters degree in political science from San Diego State University and holds a Bachelors degree in broadcast journalism from Arizona State University.

In 2015 Katie won a national Clarion Award for a series of stories she did on women in California politics. She’s been honored by the Society for Professional Journalists and, in 2013, was named by The Washington Post as one of the country’s top state Capitol reporters.   She’s also reported for the award-winning documentary series The View from Here and was part of the team that won  national PRNDI and  Gabriel Awards in 2015. She lives in Sacramento with her husband. Twitter: @1KatieOrr

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