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County may miss voting law compliance

Nevada County is not likely to be in compliance with the Help America Vote Act by the June 6 primary elections, county clerk-recorder Kathleen Smith said at the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday morning.

A contract was submitted to the county by Election Systems and Software to have Automark voting systems at every polling place, said county purchasing agent Mary Ross.

Accepting the contract would have helped to make the county HAVA compliant and allowed more disabled people to vote in the upcoming election.



Smith said in an e-mail she decided not to accept the offer because “ES&S will not agree to terms regarding shared cost of upgrades or specific trade-in terms as specifically asked for by the FREED Center for Independent Living.”

Ann Guerra, executive director of FREED, emphasized that her organization had made a “suggestion” to Smith.




“By no means did I expect them to hinge their purchase on that one item,” Guerra said.

All of the HAVA-certified voting systems “create greater access” for disabled voters, said Ana Acton of FREED.

Smith did not return phone calls Tuesday regarding her decision not to accept the contract, leaving many people unclear as to the cause for the delay in complying with the federal act passed in 2002 and required to be in effect by Jan. 1, 2006.

Nevada County has been allotted $1.7 million in federal and state funding to comply with HAVA.

“It was hard for me to get a clear picture of what she was saying,” said District 1 Supervisor Nate Beason.

“It’s difficult to understand the delay when there does seem to be a viable option,” said Guerra. “There doesn’t seem to be enough information coming out of the Registrar’s office to get a good sense about what’s going to happen in June or November.”

To reach staff writer Josh Singer, e-mail joshs@theunion .com or call 477-4234.


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