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Media Advisory

UC Berkeley professor has data on punch card performance

08 October 2003

ATTENTION: Reporters covering gubernatorial recall

Contact: Janet Gilmore
(510) 642-5685

Punch card ballots performed much more poorly in Tuesday's California gubernatorial recall election than had been expected, according to a preliminary analysis by Henry Brady, a University of California, Berkeley, political science professor and expert on voting systems.

Before the election, Brady projected that the use of punch card voting systems would lead to the loss of 40,000 votes on the recall question - votes that would have been counted with other systems. His preliminary post-election review of data for the 20 largest counties comprising almost 90 percent of the voters suggests that approximately 175,000 punch card votes were lost because punch card systems performed less reliably than all other voting systems.

"Fortunately, this number is not enough to change the results on any of the four questions that were decided in the October election," said Brady. "But it would have been enough to call into question any election in which the margin was two percent or less."

Brady, who was an expert witness on the ACLU legal case that sought to halt the election due to concerns about punch card voting problems, is available today (Wednesday, Oct. 8) to discuss this issue and provide additional data from his preliminary analysis.

He can be reached at UC Berkeley at (510) 642-3008.