Electronic voting equipment; requirements and recount procedures. (HB2707)

Introduced By

Del. Tim Hugo (R-Centreville)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Election procedures; voting equipment requirements; random postelection audits of equipment; and recounts.  Requires localities to use optical scan tabulator systems. The bill requires the State Board of Elections to develop accommodations for disabled voters and limits the use of direct recording electronic (DRE) devices to marking ballots that can be optically scanned. The bill prohibits any form of wireless electronic communication capability on any voting or counting device. The bill requires State Board of Elections to develop procedures to enable local electoral boards to conduct postelection audits of at least two percent of machines in jurisdictions with 50,000 or more registered voters and at least five percent of machines in jurisdictions with fewer than 50,000 registered voters. The bill requires the random selection for auditing of a representative sample of vote counting machines within 48 hours of public announcement of initial vote counts and prohibits certifying results until audits are completed. The bill provides that paper records control in the event of a significant discrepancy, defined as a difference of more than one-tenth of one percent between the hand counted total and the initial machine tally. The bill requires local electoral boards to publicly announce comparative results. The bill requires recount officials as part of the recount proceedings to randomly audit three percent of voting devices using State Board of Elections standards for hand recounts. A discrepancy exceeding one-tenth of one percent requires extending the audit to all precincts. The bill deletes obsolete references to mechanical voting equipment and punchcard devices and takes effect January 1, 2009.  This bill is identical to SB 840. Read the Bill »


04/10/2007: signed by governor


01/10/2007Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/10/07 072214332
01/10/2007Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections
01/18/2007Assigned P & E sub: #2 (Jones, S.C.)
01/31/2007Impact statement from DPB (HB2707)
02/02/2007Committee substitute printed 075594332-H1
02/03/2007Read first time
02/05/2007Impact statement from DPB (HB2707H1)
02/05/2007Read second time
02/05/2007Committee substitute agreed to 075594332-H1
02/05/2007Engrossed by House - committee substitute HB2707H1
02/06/2007Read third time and passed House (81-Y 18-N)
02/06/2007Communicated to Senate
02/07/2007Constitutional reading dispensed
02/07/2007Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections
02/15/2007Constitutional reading dispensed (35-Y 0-N)
02/15/2007VOTE: (35-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/16/2007Read third time
02/16/2007Reading of amendments waived
02/16/2007Committee amendments agreed to
02/16/2007Passed by for the day
02/19/2007Passed by for the day
02/20/2007Read third time
02/20/2007Committee amendments reconsidered (37-Y 2-N)
02/20/2007VOTE: (37-Y 2-N) (see vote tally)
02/20/2007Reading of amendments waived
02/20/2007Committee amendment #1 agreed to
02/20/2007Passed by for the day
02/21/2007Read third time
02/21/2007Committee amendment #2 rejected
02/21/2007Reading of amendment waived
02/21/2007Amendment by Senator Devolites Davis agreed to
02/21/2007Engrossed by Senate as amended
02/21/2007Passed Senate with amendments (35-Y 4-N)
02/21/2007VOTE: (35-Y 4-N) (see vote tally)
02/22/2007Placed on Calendar
02/22/2007Senate amendments rejected by House (8-Y 89-N)
02/22/2007VOTE: REJECTED (8-Y 89-N) (see vote tally)
02/22/2007Senate insisted on amendments (30-Y 0-N)
02/22/2007VOTE: (30-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/22/2007Senate requested conference committee
02/22/2007House acceded to request
02/22/2007Conferees appointed by House
02/22/2007Delegates: Hugo, Rapp, Sickles
02/22/2007Conferees appointed by Senate
02/22/2007Senators: Martin, Obenshain, Puckett
02/24/2007Conference substitute printed 072235332-H2
02/24/2007Conference report agreed to by House (82-Y 14-N)
02/24/2007VOTE: ADOPTION (82-Y 14-N) (see vote tally)
02/24/2007Reading of conference report waived
02/24/2007Conference report agreed to by Senate (29-Y 11-N)
02/24/2007VOTE: (29-Y 11-N) (see vote tally)
03/12/2007Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB2707ER)
03/12/2007Signed by President
03/13/2007Signed by Speaker
03/26/2007Governor's recommendation received by House
04/03/2007Placed on Calendar
04/04/2007House rejected Governor's recommendation (41-Y 59-N)
04/04/2007VOTE: ADOPTION (41-Y 59-N) (see vote tally)
04/04/2007Reconsideration of Governor's recommendation rejected
04/04/2007Communicated to Governor
04/10/2007G Approved by Governor-Chapter 939 (effective 7/1/07)
04/12/2007G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0939)


Rick Sincere writes:

Based on my experience as an election official (I currently serve as Secretary on the Electoral Board for the City of Charlottesville), I oppose this legislation in its current form.

First, the legislation is premature. We may be facing new election law mandates through federal legislation, and we don't know what those will look like. We may end up having to rewrite the whole law again next year or in 2009.

Second, this is an unfunded mandate of at least $30 million distributed among Virginia's counties and cities. Most localities invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in new voting equipment over the past five years, equipment with a lifetime of 15-20 years. This legislation says all that new equipment must be discarded and replaced with equipment that was quite likely considered by local Electoral Boards and rejected. (That was certainly the case in Charlottesville.)

Third, this is a solution in search of a problem. In the more than two decades that electronic voting machines have been in use, there has never been a verified case of tampering. Other problems that have arisen invariably turn out to be based on human error -- the machines are not the problem.

I urge our legislators to go slow, be deliberate, and reject HB 2707 and its companion bill, SB 840. This issue can be revisited in the future, if necessary, but now is not the time to rush.

Beryl Brooks writes:

I am currently serving as Registrar for the City of Roanoke and am apposed to this legislation in it's current form.
First it is premature to pass any state legislation this soon, since the Federal government is also looking at passing legislation of it's own. We as a nation have already spent tremendous amounts of time and tax dollars to implement the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) which encouraged DRE's as opposed to paper ballots and lever machines which were at the top of the list to replace. Those election reforms stemmed mostly from the 2000 Presidential Election in which we were not sure who won almost up until Jan 2001. Most of the confusion especially in Florida, which caused the most controversy, was over Paper Ballots (misread ballots, missing ballots, ballots received after the deadline in absentee precincts, malfunctioning tabulators, etc., etc.)
Most of us in the Elections community new that laws would be quickly passed without carefully thinking it through and we would be left with the responsiblility of trying to implement all of it by whatever deadlines were imposed on us and by any means necessary. Roanoke City implemented our DRE's in the 2004 Presidential election and to our amazement actually had less machine malfunctions in our precincts that day than we did for the 2000 Presidential in which we used the Shoup Lever machines. As a matter of fact the only problems we had were due to Poll Worker and Voter errors which were limited to 5 incidents that day in the entire City none of them kept anyone from casting there vote. My point is that in 2004 90% of our voters preferred the DRE's to the previous method of voting. The problem with going to optical scan in my opinion is that when it comes to mechanical reliability on election day,I use optical scan equipment in my Absentee precinct and have since I began working here in 1997. Any delays that I have ever had in getting my results has been on an optical scan device and my only alternative to scanning them was to count them by hand. In 2004 with the volume of paper ballots we had it took us 24 hours (and yes I was here from 4:30AM until 7:00PM the next day)My entire absentee precinct quit after that. Please consider the ramifications of passing legislation that takes us back in time and costs us more than we can afford to pay. It is hard to find Poll Workers now and most of them are up in age. None of them are willing to be put in the position of spending the night at a precinct. If we don't take our time and make sure that the next moves we make are good ones we may find ourselves with out election officials to work the polls on election day and an election outcome that is a nightmare.

A Keene Byrd writes:

I am utterly amazed that the Legislative Body, and in particular, the The House would act without a pronounced request from the body politic;who is really behind this request? why
were no trusted public servants called on to lend expert testimony? Why are so many General Registrars and Electoral Board Members (appointed by Boards of Supervisors & City Councils )so opposed to this legislation at this time? Why is there such an urgent time frame to get this legislation passed now, at this time?
Virginia with its long tradition of Jeffersonian debate: "here we are not afraid to follow any truth nor tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it" asks a simple question: Why this legislation, NOW?