Opponents of Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s proposal to relax oversight of electronic voting machines testified Tuesday that now is the time to strengthen safeguards, not reduce them. Gessler and Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder Gilbert “Bo” Ortiz countered during a rule-making hearing that they believe sufficient protections against voter fraud still would exist under the proposed rule change. In its present form the change would reduce the required number of seals designed to prevent tampering with voting machines, end the continuous video surveillance of the machines that is presently required before and after elections and leave investigations of suspicious incidents involving the machines to county officials rather than Gessler’s office. Mandatory inspection of the machines by the secretary of state’s office also would be eliminated under the proposed rule.
“It’s really critical that we keep in mind the importance of our elections and the centrality of those to our democracy and that they are the envy of people around the world,” said Jeff Sherman of Broomfield, an Iraqi War veteran who objects to relaxing oversight of the machines. “I think as we learn more and more about these electronic voting machines, we realize that they haven’t become more and more secure, but in fact they’ve become more and more subject to hacking and to nefarious behavior,” Sherman said.