An effort to require a paper trail for all votes cast at Iowa polling places is beginning to gather steam at the statehouse. Proponents say votes have disappeared from electronic voting machines elsewhere in the country and they want to prevent that from happening here by requiring a paper copy of each vote cast.
Senator Mike Connolly, a Democrat from Dubuque, is sponsoring the bill to require a paper trail. Connolly says with all the controversy around elections nationally, this is a top priority in election law this session. Currently, most Iowa counties have at least one electronic voting machine and most do not include a device for a paper backup for the vote.
Senator Mark Zieman, a Republican from Postville, says a similar bill stalled last year because the equipment wasn’t in place to record the votes. Zieman said 10,000 electronic votes went uncounted in North Carolina last year.
Newly-elected Secretary of State Mike Mauro advised lawmakers to prepare for the administrative costs of requiring the paper trail. Reconfiguring existing machines to produce a paper record would cost about $1 million. The bill would have the system in place by the 2008 elections.