Most clerks want all mail-in election in 2008 |

Most clerks want all mail-in election in 2008

DENVER ” Now that electronic voting machines used by most Colorado counties have been decertified, a majority of county clerks want next year’s election to be conducted entirely by mail.

Four county clerks told state lawmakers Friday that 70 percent of clerks want an all-mail election in 2008, when voters will elect a new U.S. senator and president. They said they don’t have enough money to purchase new voting machines and, even if they did, there wouldn’t be enough time to train workers in how to use them.

“We currently have no options to conduct an election as things stand right now,” Jefferson County clerk and recorder Pam Anderson told members of the Joint Budget Committee.

Meanwhile, Mesa County commissioner Janet Rowland has said that county could still use its decertified machines and risk being sued by Secretary of State Mike Coffman.

This week, Coffman decertified equipment made by three of four manufacturers used by the state, a decision affecting six of Colorado’s 10 most populous counties. He said the machines that failed could get fixes, such as a software patch, within 45 days and still be used in November’s election.

He opposes an all-mail election because he said voters could be influenced by others in casting their ballots.

“Do they want to cast in the privacy of a voting booth or do they want to cast it at a dining room table with their spouse looking over their shoulder?” he said.

The clerks want lawmakers to pass legislation that would make the election an all-mail one. Coffman wants a bill to streamline the approval process for the machines. Lawmakers convene for a new session on Jan. 9.

Rep. Bernie Buescher, D-Grand Junction, said he would like to pass a bill dealing with the election in that first month so the state doesn’t “end up the poster child like Florida was eight years ago.”

Gov. Bill Ritter said he would wait to hear from all sides before taking a position on legislation.

“But it is clearly a difficult situation and one that needs fixing,” Ritter said.

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