Above is a link to Governor Richardson’s statement about the report we did for him on the transition to optical scan voting in New Mexico. An excerpt is below.
Independent researchers from the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project, the University of New Mexico and the University of Utah issued a report today on the administration of the 2006 General Election and the state’s transition to a paper ballot voting system. Over eight in 10 voters rated their voting experience excellent or good and the report concluded that “New Mexico is on the cutting edge of election administration and has executive and local leadership forging aggressively ahead with the intent of building a better, strong, efficacious and more voter confident voting system.”
“This independent report confirms that our state’s transition to a paper ballot system has been successful,” said Governor Bill Richardson. “Voters and poll workers favored the new voting process and gave it high marks for reliability, privacy and ease of use. Our experience clearly demonstrates that states can transition to paper ballot in less than a year and conduct accurate and transparent elections.
According to researchers, New Mexico is the first state to move from a predominantly electronic voting system to a single durable paper ballot system statewide, using optical scanners. Governor Richardson, working closely with New Mexico election reform groups and key state legislators passed legislation in 2005 requiring all state elections to be conducted with a voter verifiable paper trail, but could allow for continued use of Direct Recording Electronic voting systems (DREs). Recognizing state and national concerns over continued use of DREs, during the 2006 legislative session Governor Richardson pushed for a single state-wide voting system using durable paper ballots, which represent the official record of the vote. The paper ballot system allows for recounts of New Mexico elections, which the DRE systems did not, and it also allows elections to be audited for accuracy and provide an environment that promotes greater voter confidence, which the previous electronic systems could not accommodate.