Security tightened by state mandates

With the general election just more than five weeks away, local election officials are worried about new requirements from the state regarding procedures and security.

One item in particular that concerns Moffat County Clerk and Recorder Elaine Sullivan is the requirement for security cameras to monitor voting equipment and locations for 90 days prior to the election.

"The small counties are really in a bind because many of them didn't have the money for new voting equipment in the first place," Sullivan said.

The new rules governing the election process came out Wednesday, and they will be discussed at a hearing scheduled for Wednesday in Denver.

Rules stipulate that cameras monitor voting equipment before the election and also 30 days after the election, in case of a recount or other issues.

Sullivan said she is confident the rules will be adopted, and Chief Deputy Clerk Lila Herod has already placed an order for three cameras to meet the state's requirements.

"There was a time when election judges would take the voting machines home the day before the election to have them ready to go early in the morning," Herod said. "Now, only Dinosaur will have the machines early, and the judges will stay with those machines until the election."

Election judges do not have access to the computer cards that tally votes in the machines, Herod said. The voting machines are secured with a tamper-proof seal that is not broken until the machines are returned to election headquarters after the polls close.

"At the end of the night, judges can run a tally report, which is a slip of paper with the preliminary results, and call those numbers in," Herod said. "The official results aren't tallied until we get the cards from the voting machines."

Herod said there is little chance for tampering with the equipment, because three election judges are present at each voting precinct, and 15 judges will be working at Centennial Mall on Election Day.

The machines for Maybell and Hamilton, as well as Centennial Mall, will not leave the election office in Moffat County Courthouse until early on Nov. 7.

The three cameras ordered will cover the location of the stored voting equipment, the election headquarters office, and a spare in case the absentee judges need to be covered while tallying votes before Election Day.

Video from the wireless cameras is stored on a computer hard-drive, and can run continuously.

Sullivan said the new procedures will likely be accepted at Wednesday's hearing, but it shouldn't affect operations too much on Election Day.

"I'm sure it will pass," Sullivan said about the new security procedures. "Most of this we're practicing already."

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