'Excited to be back on'

Moffat County to use paper ballots, electronic machines

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— Thrilled.

That is how Elaine Sullivan, Moffat County clerk and recorder, summed up her reaction to state lawmakers killing a proposal that would have forced counties across the state to conduct paper ballots in the upcoming election.

That decision, which was made Thursday by the Senate Appropriations Committee, means Moffat County can continue with a voting system and equipment Sullivan expresses high confidence in.

It means Moffat County voters will have an option of using electronic voting equipment by Hart InterCivic or paper ballots - the same as in previous elections conducted in the county.

"This is the equipment that we spent all of the money on," Sullivan said. "It's very accurate, and we've never had a problem with it. There's no way it can be hacked into. We love it."

She pointed out that 47 other counties have purchased Hart InterCivic equipment, and "all of us have had good results."

Colorado was one of five states considering strictly going with paper ballots because of questions about electronic equipment.

Secretary of State Mike Coffman decertified most electronic voting equipment - including Hart InterCivic's machines - in December, citing security and accuracy concerns.

Coffman recertified the machines in the beginning of March, after lawmakers agreed to let him reopen the process, seek fixes and gather input from clerks.

Coffman orginally was forced to look into Colorado's voting equipment because of a Denver district judge ruling in the 2006 Conroy v. Dennis case, which found flaws in the state's original 2005-06 certification process, according to a Colorado County Clerk's Association press release.

That ended up involving the decertification process - a step by Coffman that Sullivan disagreed with.

"I don't think it was very well thought through," she said. "We have had more progression in our equipment just with the computer age, and then you make an announcement (to decertify), and it's like we're going to go backward 10 years."

She said that statewide, this issue may shake voter confidence, "but I would hope that here in Moffat County that everybody that voted knows that it was accurate (in previous elections). : We've never had any problems in the past."

Moffat County uses five E-Scans, to count paper ballots, and 10 Direct Recording Electronic Voting Machines during the election, Sullivan said, again expressing confidence in Moffat County's two-pronged approach to elections: paper ballots and electronic machines.

She said this year's election will be "even better" than previous ones.

"We've got a new database we've been working on. : And then with the equipment, we will do what normally do," she said.

"We're just excited to be back on again."

Jerry Raehal can be reached at 875-1790 or jraehal@craigdailypress.com

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