Officials wanting to avoid a repeat of Florida's 2000 presidential race are being advised that installing electronic systems is not the answer.
One computer expert told the U.S. Election Assistance Commission that on a scale of terrible to very good, "`we are sitting at terrible."
The Johns Hopkins University professor testified that vendors of the new systems have not used adequate security safeguards. Machines in more than half the precincts in California's San Diego County malfunctioned during the March second presidential primary.
Other experts say that while electronic systems offer some advantages, backing up the systems with paper ballots could be expensive.
About 50 million Americans are expected to use the ATM-like voting machines this fall.
The four-member bipartisan panel is expected to issue recommendations to state and local officials.
On the Net:
U.S. Election Assistance Commission: http://www.eac.gov