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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Chad-Free Voting

Aired November 5, 2002 - 12:18   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Let's go on to CNN's Gary Tuchman. He's in Georgia, where voters are learning a new chad-free way to vote as well.
Gary -- tell us about that.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, touch screen technology is sweeping the nation, but only one state has touch screen technology in each and every precinct, and that is this state, the Peach State, the state of Georgia, all 159 counties for this election, 22,000 touch screen machines are in the precincts. And you can see, there are eight of them right here.

Only two voters, three if you count the infant in that lady's hand right there, but it had been very crowded here most of the day. This is a relatively light time, but they are working very well in this precinct so far.

The secretary of state here in Georgia says so far, statewide, everything is going very smoothly.

And we want to give you a demo. There are touch screens machines all over the country right now. There are different kinds. This particular one made by the Diebold Company is the one being used throughout the state of Georgia.

We want to give you demo. You take this voter access card, you stick it in the slot, and once you stick it in the slot, it will download the ballot. This will not be the same ballot that people here in the state of Georgia are using; this is a sample ballot, but with familiar names. Famous leaders, I'm going to pick Martin Luther King Jr.; famous Georgians, I'm going to pick Gladys Knight; and famous athletes, let's pick Bobby Jones.

Then you go to "next," and it will bring up the referendum questions, a state constitutional amendment, yes, and these two referendums, we'll also vote yes and yes. Then we go to "next," and that is the end.

But let's say you're not happy with what you voted for. You reserve the right to change your mind. So what I'll do is I'll say, well, famous athletes, I want to change my mind about that. If you want to over-vote, forget about it, you can slam every name here and nothing will happen. That was the big problem in the year 2000, the over-votes in Florida and here in Georgia. Georgia had worse problems than Florida, believe it or not. But if I want to change Bobby Jones, I just press him, I have a blank screen again. I pick Ty Cobb, I push the "next" button, I push the "next" button again, it brings me to that review of the ballot. Are you satisfied with everything you've done? If you are, press "cast ballot." You press "cast the ballot," your card comes out. Your vote is not on this card. This card just gets brought back to the people who work here. Your vote is actually in the machine.

So, how's it going so far? Let's talk to the clerk of the precinct here. That is Cindy Knight (ph), who is standing right here. She'll be here all day and night making sure everything is OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's right.

TUCHMAN: How has everything worked out so far.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So far, everything has gone very well. We've had a good turnout, and we're expecting the rest of the people in the precinct to come in and vote.

TUCHMAN: But a question that a lot of people have been asking since we've been doing this all day is: What stops a person from putting their card in and voting, getting their card out, and then when no one is looking putting their card in again and doing another vote? What stops that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, what happens is if you try to put the card back in, you'll just get a blank screen, and the card will pop back out. So, it's impossible for somebody to repeatedly vote on the same card.

TUCHMAN: OK, the only problem they've had here today was one of the screens went out. Why did that do that? When someone was voting, the screen went black. What happened there?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right, but that was a very serious IT problem, and what happened was...

TUCHMAN: What is IT?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, that's information technology, I believe.

TUCHMAN: OK, OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happened was somebody had jiggled, you know, with their foot the cord, and it came out of the wall. So, we have -- every hour we go and check to make sure that the power is still on, and we have little night lights on the ends of the units to make sure that we can visually see that the power is on.

TUCHMAN: Cindy (ph), thanks for talking with us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

TUCHMAN: We appreciate your help. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

TUCHMAN: The biggest problem the state of Georgia says it's had today is at one particular precinct, they only had one of these cards available for all of the voters going in. So, the voters couldn't go to these video units. They ended up shipping in a box of these cards, and everything's OK in that particular precinct right now.

Wolf -- back to you.

BLITZER: All right, Gary Tuchman, thanks very much. I used a very similar machine, if not the exact machine, myself earlier today in Montgomery County, and it worked just fine.

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