Plan to Use Paper Ballots Is Reversed in Colorado!

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Fri, 03/21/2008 - 11:51am.

A plan to use only paper ballots in Colorado in this November's election, which was announced with bipartisan hoopla in January to replace the state's troubled electronic voting machine system, died quietly in a state legislature committee room on Thursday.

Opponents of the plan said it was no longer needed, because what was broken then is now fixed. But supporters said that questions of reliability and security of the electronic voting and vote-counting machines remained unresolved, and could yet resurface before November.

The debate exploded in December, when Colorado's secretary of state, Mike Coffman, a Republican, announced that voting machines used all over the state, including in many of the most populous counties, had failed tests by his office.


The proposed solution of using paper ballots faced immediate and stiff opposition from county clerks, who administer the elections and who said the logistics of a one-year transformation were insurmountable.

But lawmakers said on Thursday that they had circumvented the need for a drastic change by passing, earlier in the session, a system for expedited retesting and recertification of the voting and vote-counting machinery. A spokesman for Mr. Coffman said the process had resulted in all the machines being recertified in recent weeks.

Lawmakers said that a mandatory, one-size-fits-all solution also ran counter to long traditions in Colorado in which counties could run elections with the mixture of paper, absentee and electronic voting that they choose.

"This is a win for local control," said David G. Balmer, the deputy minority leader in the State House of Representatives, a Republican from the Denver suburbs who opposed a mandatory paper system. "This solution will allow the method of voting to be decided by individual county clerks who know what kind of elections systems work best in their counties."

Other lawmakers said they feared that the recertification had not addressed the fundamental problems that electronic machines are prone to.

"I think we're back to ground zero," said Senator John P. Morse, a Democrat representing Colorado Springs and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, where the paper ballot bill failed on an eight-to-one vote, with Mr. Morse being the only supporter. "I personally think the electronic voting machines are unreliable and votes will be dropped," he said. "I'm not buying into this idea that machines don't work, but oh yeah, now they do."


New York Times - March 20, 2008 - posted at

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Fri, 03/21/2008 - 11:51am.