Plaintiffs who prevailed in a lawsuit to decertify Colorado voting machines in 2006 spoke out Wednesday against Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s proposal to relax security protocols for the machines. Gessler has proposed a rule change that would eliminate his office’s mandatory inspection of voting machines in counties, lessen the requirement for tamper-proof seals on the machine, lift the mandate for clerks to report suspected tampering to the secretary of state and reduce the amount of video surveillance required for the machines.
“This is the culmination of about a year of work with our staff and county clerks’ staffs,” said Rich Coolidge, spokesman for the secretary of state’s office. Pueblo County Clerk Gilbert “Bo” Ortiz, president-elect of the County Clerks of Colorado, said the organization favors relaxing how direct recording electronic voting machines are monitored.
…Denver lawyer Paul Hultin, who represented voters in a 2006 lawsuit seeking to do away with terminals in the state, said if the new rules are adopted as Gessler has proposed them, the security of the voting machines will be compromised. Hultin, of the firm Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell, contends Gessler is overstepping his authority to relax the rules and is opening a door to fraud through computer hacking. He also worries that evidence on paper that could settle disputes and questions of fraud is not an option in electronic voting.
… In small, rural Saguache County, citizens seldom choose to use voting machines, according to Clerk and Recorder Melinda Myers. “I believe I had 10 people vote on the machine in the last presidential election,” she said. “In 2008 our county spent $600 per voter to have the machine, based on how many used it.”
Myers says she has no fear that anyone in her tiny and relatively poor county will hack into voting machines via remote computers, but she still prefers the current safeguard over the proposed plan.
“I like that required inspections from the secretary of state’s office,” she said. “We lack any kind of a tech department here. We need to have the support of their tech people to do a lot of the stuff that we do down here because we are so small.”