Voting machine debate lingers

Moffat County Clerk and Recorder Elaine Sullivan hoped to come back from Durango with some definitive answers regarding the future of Moffat County's voting machines. But the county clerk's conference she attended didn't answer all of her questions.

"We didn't get out of it what we thought we would," Sullivan said.

Sullivan wanted to know how much funding the state was going to give the county for voting equipment required by the Help America Vote Act. She also wanted to know how long the state was going to pay to service the new machines and what machines were certified by the state.

Representatives from the Secretary of State's office couldn't provide the answers Sullivan and the state's other county clerks were hoping for.

"We're still in the same boat we were in a year ago," Sullivan said.

Sullivan hopes the state provides the clerks with the information they need by July 1 so they can solidify their budgets for next year.

Dana Williams, a spokeswoman for the Secretary of State's office, said Monday she thinks counties will have the information they need by July 1.

Sullivan spoke to some voting machine companies recently to get an estimate so she could make a rough budget for next year. She had to set aside funding for a new voting machine because November's election will be the last one for the county's current machine.

Governor Owens signed a bill last month that extended the deadline for counties to have Digital Recording Electronic voting machines from Jan. 1, 2006 to Jan. 1, 2008. But Moffat County will need a new machine before 2008 because the service contract on their 15-year-old optical scanner will run out at the end of the year.

"We're still going to have to do something," Sullivan said.

Representatives from voting machine manufacturers will be in Routt County this week and even though not all the companies have been certified, Sullivan is sending Moffat County election officials to see the machines.

"I don't want to get caught in a rush and buy equipment just because we have to have it," Sullivan said.

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