County to receive funds for voting machines

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Six months ago, Moffat County Clerk and Recorder Elaine Sullivan was unsure about the future of the county's voting machines.

Federal and state laws require that the county buy new machines by the end of 2007. But the service contract for Moffat County's ballot scanner expired last month, meaning the county needs new machines before think fall's election.

Until a few weeks ago, Sullivan didn't know how much financial help the county would get from the state to buy new machines.

Late last month, Colorado Secretary of State Gigi Dennis sent a letter to Sullivan informing her the county would get $115,150 for new voting machines.

The money comes from a $34 million grant given to Colorado by the federal government to help the state implement a new voter registration system and purchase new voting equipment.

At the Moffat County commissioners meeting on Tuesday, Sullivan announced that the state would give the county the money for the machines.

Sullivan said she was relieved to know how much the county was going to get from the state.

With the money, Sullivan said the county would likely buy five direct recording electronic voting machines and a precinct counter.

The Help America Vote Act, which passed after the 2000 election, requires counties to have machines that make it easier for people with disabilities to vote. The direct recording electronic machines are meant to do that.

Sullivan said she isn't sure what to expect from the precinct counter, which will allow election officials to count ballots at the precinct instead of at the Moffat County Courthouse.

But the clerks who have precinct counters have good things to say about them, she said.

"The people who have them love them," Sullivan said.

Sullivan is waiting to learn what brands of voting machines the state will certify before she buys any.

Dana Williams, a spokeswoman for the secretary of state, said two companies have applied for certification.

Sullivan said she would meet with representatives of some voting machine companies next month in Steamboat Springs.

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