Voting equipment across Colorado’s 64 counties will have to be replaced in the next two years in order to comply with requirements of a 2009 state law. And Secretary of State Wayne Williams just designated one company, Dominion Voting Systems, as the sole vendor for all the needed gear. The transition is going to be expensive, especially for rural counties that haven’t seen the economic boom experienced across the Front Range. County officials argue forcing them to use one vendor — and not the cheapest — may violate the law and sane fiscal management.
The problem Colorado faces is that the current voting systems are nearing the end of their practical use, Williams told The Colorado Independent. Machines purchased between 2002 and 2006 and paid for by the federal Help America Vote Act are now antiquated. Software is out of date and unsupported. Counties struggle to verify election results. And some of the systems are so labor intensive clerks and staff have to scan one ballot at a time, every 6 to 10 seconds.
Clerks are now asking: Why fix a computer-based system that has largely been left in the dust by Colorado’s mail-in elections?
The machines, though hardly used, are critical for voters who register on Election Day. The American Association of People with Disabilities in 2004 argued electronic voting machines are the only way that a disabled voter can cast a secret and independent vote.