San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation today launched a campaign to inform California voters of their right to vote on a paper ballot in the upcoming election. The website and animation for Paper or Plastic 2004 are available at:

Ten California counties – including Orange, Alameda, and Riverside - will use electronic voting machines on November 2nd, but these systems don't provide a voter-verified audit trail and they cannot be used in a meaningful recount. That's why Secretary of State Kevin Shelley ordered each of these counties to give voters a choice: on election day, voters can choose to forego an electronic ballot and instead vote on paper. However, election officials in at least three counties are instructing poll workers to keep this "paper or plastic" choice secret.

"Thousands of Californians fought for the option to cast ballots that can be verified, audited, and recounted, but these officials are trying to keep the public in the dark," said EFF Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman. "Election officials in Alameda, Orange, and Santa Clara Counties are violating the spirit of Secretary Shelley's order by instructing poll workers to not tell voters about their rights or failing to instruct poll workers about the paper ballot option at all."

These instructions have been given to poll workers in Orange, Alameda, and Riverside Counties. Napa, San Bernardino, Merced, Plumas, Shasta, Tehama, and Riverside Counties also use e-voting machines, but it is not clear whether their poll workers have been given similar instructions. The animation and website will also be released in Spanish, Chinese, and Tagalog later this week.

Paper or Plastic 2004:


Matt Zimmerman
Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation
+1 415 436-9333 x127

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