The deal also calls for the Election Assistance Commission to come up with rules on how audits should be performed in federal elections using the new electronic equipment, which most states switched to after the 2000 Florida ballot fiasco.
Utah, which already mandates a voter verifiable paper trail, likely wouldn't be affected by the first part of the bill, but will be closely eyeing what the EAC decides on how audits should be performed.
Joe Demma, the chief of staff to Utah Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert, the state's top elections official, said the state should be fine if Congress passes the first part of the bill. Herbert has set a statewide policy on election audits already, Demma says, and it's unclear how it would be affected by the legislation.
"Anytime someone talks about homogenized audits across the country, we take high interest in that dialogue," Demma said. Bennett and Feinstein plan to introduce their bill soon and they say it is crafted to generate broad support in Congress.
- Thomas Burr