‘Dan’ prepares for his final election
Tuesday’s election will most likely be the last dance for Moffat County’s election machine.
Since the 1992 primary, the machine, nicknamed Dan by the staff at the Clerk and Recorder’s Office, has counted 64,956 ballots, helped elect two presidents, two governors and numerous local officials.
The Help America Vote Act mandates counties replace machines like Dan with new ones by the end of 2007. But Moffat County needs to replace Dan before then because the service contract on the machine runs out by year’s end.
Barring some extension of the contract, Dan will be retired after it counts the last ballot Tuesday.
The staff at the Clerk and Recorder’s Office said they’ll be sad to see the machine go.
“If you don’t have problems with something, why replace it?” Moffat County Clerk and Recorder Elaine Sullivan said.
Sullivan gives the machine a kiss before it counts the ballots every election.
The machine is fairly simple to operate and repair, said Lila Herod, chief deputy clerk.
In the mid-1990s, part of the machine’s mechanism broke and counting stopped for about 20 minutes. But election workers were able to repair it, Herod said.
Dan, which is named for the machine’s first service technician, probably will be replaced with machines that count ballots at the voting precincts, Herod said.
The new machines would allow voters to correct mistakes on their own by telling them they under-voted or over-voted before they cast their ballot, she said.
But county officials say they aren’t exactly sure what kind of machine would replace Dan.
The state will fund at least a portion of the costs of new machines, but Sullivan said she isn’t sure how much money the state will give. Also, county officials aren’t sure what brands of machine will be certified or recommended by the state.
The state would address the issue of funding and certifying new machines after the election, said Dana Williams, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office.
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Routt County is working with both Rio Blanco and Moffat counties and municipalities across northwestern Colorado to create an umbrella organization to better coordinate and pursue economic development in the region.