, Compaq to Provide Online Voting, Compaq to Provide Online Voting

By William Welsh, Staff Writer

OCT.5 ? Voters in three major counties in Arizona and California may cast nonbinding ballots online during the fall 2000 presidential election through a pilot program established by and Compaq Computer Corp.

Compaq of Houston will provide the hardware while of Bellevue, Wash., will provide the software for the pilots, said the companies.

The counties participating in the pilot program are Maricopa County, Ariz.; San Diego and Sacramento counties, Calif. Phoenix is located in Maricopa County.

The offices of the secretary of state in Arizona and California defined the scope of each project, said company officials.

The California pilots are constructed to allow voters at early polling sites to participate in a shadow election that will operate in tandem with traditional ballot voting, said company officials.'s software will provide the counties with virtual voting devices and polling sites, while data centers will collect and tabulate the votes. The software is encrypted to ensure ballot privacy, said company officials. has previously conducted online voting pilots in Alaska, Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Virginia and Washington.

Online voting can improve voter access and make voting more convenient for disabled voters, according to proponents.

The companies are hoping the counties will find online voting is more efficient and cost-effective than the traditional punch card, paper ballot and optical scan systems and will use it in their 2001 elections.

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