California Secretary of State Debra Bowen has announced the start of a new study to test voting machines. The question of whether, or which, voting machines can be trusted has made many California voters distrustful of all voting machine changes. For this study, Bowen has asked researchers at the University of California to study the software used in voting machines and test whether the machines are vulnerable to hacking. The basic function of all voting machines is to record each vote correctly and tally all the votes accurately. If these functions can be perverted by hackers, the machines lose all their value. What could be more discouraging to voters than to believe their vote may not count? The study, which is supposed to be finished by the end of July, comes late in a busy election cycle. Many county officials, looking at a presidential primary election looming in February, are concerned that there will not be time to make decisions about purchasing and installing machines in time. This is an issue of importance to all concerned citizens and one that the League has taken on as an important function. The Action Committee of the San Francisco League is following this issue closely and will report to members on the findings of the study and the actions of the Department of Elections.
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