Some touch-screen voting machines OK’d; no word yet on counters
February 26, 2008
DENVER ” Three types of touch-screen voting machines have been cleared for use in Colorado this year, but the jury is still out on some optical scanners used to count paper ballots.
Colorado is trying to sort out how it will conduct its elections this year after Secretary of State Mike Coffman decertified most of the electronic voting equipment used in the state because of accuracy and security concerns.
State lawmakers are leaning toward holding all-paper elections, but federal law requires that one touch-screen machine be available at every polling place for disabled voters or anyone else who wants to use one.
County officials want their optical scanners recertified to count paper ballots so they can avoid doing a time-consuming hand count or spending money on new scanners.
On Monday, Coffman recertified some of the touch-screen machines, with restrictions. They include equipment made by Sequoia Voting Systems and used in Arapahoe, Denver, Elbert and Pueblo counties, and others made by Election Systems and Software, used in Jefferson and Mesa counties.
He plans to meet Tuesday in Castle Rock with Douglas County election officials to discuss optical scanners and software made by Hart InterCivic. He said he is still working to schedule testing of two types of scanners made by Election Systems and Software.
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Coffman’s decision in December to decertify the voting equipment threw the 2008 elections into confusion.
County officials challenged Coffman’s test methods and said they could not repeat the problems he said he found.
The manufacturers also defended their equipment.
Colorado is one of five states considering a return to all-paper elections after having problems changing to electronic systems, according to a report released last week by Electionline, a project of The Pew Center on the States.
The other states are Florida, New Mexico, Ohio, and California, according to the study.