Governor Chet Culver on Tuesday signed into law Senate File 2347, which requires all Iowa counties to use optical scan voting machines and paper ballots.
The state will spend an estimated $4.6 million to replace touchscreen voting machines in 19 counties that have been using them.
It’s a relief that all 99 counties will be using similar voting equipment, which is less vulnerable to tampering than touchscreen machines and allows for hand and machine recounts in the event of a close election.
The Des Moines Register quoted Sean Flaherty of Iowans for Voting Integrity as saying voters will also save time in the counties that are replacing the paperless machines. Voting by touchscreen takes longer and leads to bigger backlogs at polling stations.
A lot of credit goes to Secretary of State Mike Mauro, who showed leadership on this issue despite the governor’s early objections to the cost of the plan and complaints by some officials in the counties that had purchased touchscreen machines.