A task force studying Iowa’s election laws has decided against calling for a single, statewide voting system. Florida officials recently committed 32-millon dollars to install optical scanning machines to collect votes. Iowa Secretary of State Chet Culver says it’d cost 20-million to install identical, up-to-date voting machines throughout the state. He says it’s up to local officials to decide on the technology they want.Seven counties still use lever machines, but parts for those machines haven’t been made since 1982. Van Buren County still uses paper ballots. The rest use optical scanners which read the black marks voters make on their ballots. Culver says while there are different methods statewide, it doesn’t mean voters aren’t being treated equally.Culver’s task force will make recommendations to the 2002 Iowa Legislature, such as whether there should be automatic recounts when Iowa elections are close. The group will also come up with a legal definition of what constitutes a vote in Iowa. Culver says they want to develop that definition before there’s a contested vote.Leaders from the Iowa Republican, Democrat and Green political parties sit on Culver’s task force, alongside county election officials from throughout the state.
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