S.F. supes to consider new voting machines

A day after San Francisco elections officials were granted an extension for a manual recount of some ballots from the Nov. 7 election because of issues with computerized voting equipment, city supervisors are getting a look at a potential replacement system.

According to Director of Elections John Arntz, his office has been given court approval until Tuesday to recount some 80,000 absentee ballots, a week more than the Dec. 4 official certification date of election results required by the state.

Arntz said today he hoped the counting would be done by Friday.

Problems arose from the current voting machines, manufactured by the Omaha, Neb.-based Election Systems and Software, causing California Secretary of State Debra Bowen to impose stricter conditions on the tabulation of results using hand counts.

Discrepancies between initial hand counts and results from the Election Systems and Software machines have resulted in the need to manually recount absentee ballots related to measures A, E, F and G, according to Arntz.

Some of the absentee ballots from the election were registered as “undervoted” by the ES&S machines, when in fact they did have marked selections, Arntz said.

The preliminary voting results for the four measures are not expected to change significantly, according to Arntz.

Meanwhile, voting machines from Sequoia Voting Systems were being unveiled at City Hall this morning to members of the Board of Supervisors and the public.

The board’s Budget and Finance Committee is expected to vote on a resolution approving a new, $12.66 million, four-year contract with Sequoia at its meeting at 1 p.m. today.

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