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Colorado Voter Group Comments on Secretary of State's Decisions PDF  | Print |  Email
By Al Kolwicz, Colorado Voter Group   
December 20, 2007

After being forced to recertify suspect voting equipment by concerned public citizens, the Colorado Department of State decertified four models of paper-ballot vote counting equipment, and three models of electronic-ballot voting equipment.

 

This decision has created a major problem for county clerks and for electors in the 2008 primary and general elections. Many Colorado counties are affected by this decision.

The Secretary of State announced his intentions to seek changes to get around current Colorado law. These changes would allow him to (1) use California's certification for equipment that failed Colorado's tests; (2) waive the requirement for retesting equipment when "small" changes are made to the equipment; and (3) permit county clerks to request recertification and to appeal certification rejections.

There are several things wrong with the Secretary's plans. Coloradans have no influence over California tests. To bypass testing can be a road to disaster. Colorado electors have been excluded from the discussion to date, and the Secretary made no reference to including them now.


Election officials present themselves as systems experts. They are not. It is time for them to start listening to the people in Colorado who are systems experts. It is time for officials to come out from behind their secretive walls of authority and answer the hard questions being asked by the public.

The Secretary's own test board recommended that none of the voting equipment be recertified.

The Colorado Voter Group contends that the certification process itself is fatally flawed. There is an inordinate concentration on security, and little or no attention paid to other key requirements. The certification process did not test to ensure that each model of voting equipment is verifiable and transparent - which they are not. It's like using a hand calculator instead of an adding machine with a printout of inputs.

The tests were voluminous, but definitely not adequate. There was no consideration given to the needs of canvass boards, poll watchers, and voter eligibility determination, for example.

There were no tests of a complete voting system. The Secretary claims that this testing will occur in the counties, but the counties are not prepared to do this testing.

The Secretary must eventually engage with private sector election system experts and the forgotten election officials including canvass boards and poll watchers. Why not start now?
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