Federal funds for paper ballots

Published May 2, 2007

TALLAHASSEE - The U.S. Election Assistance Commission will allow Florida to use federal funds to replace the state's touch screen voting machines with a verifiable paper-trail system, Sen. Bill Nelson's office and the Florida Department of State said Tuesday.

The Florida Legislature is on the verge of passing an elections bill that calls for the use of nearly $28-million in federal funds to replace touch-screen voting machines in 15 counties. But until Tuesday, state lawmakers and Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning did not know for sure whether they could rely on federal money from the Help America Vote Act.

Despite the high priority Gov. Charlie Crist and most lawmakers - Republican and Democrat - have given to the replacement of the machines, a tight budget year has left the Legislature hard-pressed to find state funding for it.