Thursday, February 28, 2008

Colorado Mesa County Defiant Forced Use Paper Ballots

The county should be skeptical of the plan, but not for the reasons it presents.

The Colorado plan includes forcing counties to provide central scanners to tabulate the paper ballots.

Bill shifts votes to paper ballots
Clerks criticize the plan, which allows electronic voting as a second choice.
By John Ingold The Denver Post
Article Last Updated: 02/26/2008 11:50:17 PM MST

...The bill takes several steps to appease county clerks, many of whom asked the state to mandate a mail-ballot election. First, it would allow clerks to use aggregated vote centers and forgo reporting results by precinct. That would greatly reduce the number of ballot styles counties would have to deal with.

It also would allow clerks to count the ballots at a central location, meaning counties that have just one large ballot scanner in their main office would not have to buy smaller ballot scanners for every polling place...

Paper ballots are back to the dark ages without the 'precinct' scanners which voters use to scan in a voted paper ballot.

The scanners have the capability to notify the voter of errors which could prevent the ballot from being counted if over-votes are present.

The DREs without a paper record are worse, however. Mesa County may be lauded for its defiance on the one hand, but criticized for not thinking of the potential for mishaps with electronic voting machines. Without a paper record, what is there to re-count, should that eventuality arise as it did in New Hampshire's 2008 Presidential Primary?

(Net the Truth Online)

Concerns rising about requiring a paper-ballot election
One senator promises to fight the bill, the result of problems with electronic terminals.
By John Ingold
The Denver Post
Article Last Updated: 02/28/2008 02:54:03 AM MSTA bill mandating that the state conduct a primarily paper-ballot election this year may not be a slam dunk, even though it has the sponsorship of party leaders in both legislative chambers.

A handful of legislators said Wednesday that they have serious concerns about the bill, a sign that a battle may be shaping up.

"I'm just really disappointed that there's the possibility of this going forward," said Sen. Nancy Spence, R-Centennial, "and I will put all my effort into killing it in the Senate."

The bill, Senate Bill 189, was formally introduced Wednesday. It would require county clerks to offer all voters a paper ballot, although voters could ask to vote on an electronic voting terminal. Voters would also be able to vote early

or vote by mail.
Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon, a Denver Democrat who crafted the bill, said the measure would move the state away from using electronic voting terminals, which came under scrutiny after a lawsuit and the secretary of state's subsequent decertification of many of the machines. It would also likely prevent a future lawsuit over the voting terminals, he said.

"I think we've hit the right balance here," Gordon said.

But several clerks say the bill would drive up election costs and could cause major voting problems.

Rep. Steve King, R-Grand Junction, wondered why counties can't be allowed wide use of their electronic voting terminals, all of which have now been recertified. Meanwhile, 49 counties are still without certified paper-ballot scanners.

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