By Dick Williams

The Tennessee Voter Confidence Act (TVCA) requires replacement of paperless touchscreen voting machines with optical ballot scanners by November 2010. Optical-scan voting systems read marked paper ballots and tally results, providing a tangible record of the voter's intent. They are now the most widely employed voting systems in the nation, used by 60 percent of voters in other states.

The TVCA was adopted nearly unanimously by the Tennessee Legislature – by both Democrats and Republicans -- and in 2008 enthusiastically signed into law by Gov. Phil Bredesen. But implementation of the law has been ensnarled in legalities and technicalities.

Tennessee's secretary of state and coordinator of elections have argued that the new law requires scanners be federally certified to 2005 standards, and because no machines have yet been certified to that standard, the law cannot be put into effect in time for 2010 Elections.

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