I. In Focus This Week
Colorado voters in eight counties tested new systems
Committee to meet this week to hear feedback
By Lynn Bartels
Colorado Secretary of State’s Office
Here’s to the eight Colorado county clerks, their staffs and the residents in those jurisdictions who tested new voting equipment in the November election as part of a pilot program.
The aim was to help Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams figure out which system might be best for the state. Colorado currently uses a patchwork of different systems and some machines are beyond repair.
“It’s a great opportunity to try different systems and rather than just buying them, we’re trying a new kind of common-sense approach of try before you buy,” Williams said.
One large county and one mid-sized county were paired together to test machines from four different companies: Clear Ballot, Dominion Voting Systems, ES&S or Hart InterCivic. Elections officials were effusive in their praise of the voting machine firms and the support their employees provided.
A committee that has been studying the issue of new voting machines for Colorado is scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. Friday, Nov. 13, at the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. The four voting systems providers are coming in to answer questions from the Pilot Election Review Committee and make a pitch for their systems.
On hand to witness the pilot counties on Tuesday were California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who wants to adopt portions of Colorado’s voting system, and Matthew Masterson, a commissioner with the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.
A look at the pilot counties and the company equipment that was tested:
Clear Ballot’s system was tested in Adams and Gilpin counties. In Adams County, Clerk Stan Martin and Elections Administrator and Chief Deputy Clerk Christi Coburn ran the program and in Gilpin County Clerk Colleen Stewart and Elections Administrator/Chief Deputy Gail Maxwell were in charge.
“Clear Ballot offers a offer a complete voting system,” Stewart said. “The ballot creation is easy to learn. The ADA accessible new generation touch screens were very popular with Gilpin County voters young and old. The system is affordable, easy to learn, reliable and eliminated a lot of stress during the election cycle.
“Gilpin County voters love the system and so does staff.”
Dominion Voting Systems
Denver Clerk Deb Johnson with assistance from Amber McReynolds, director of elections and Jimmy Flanagan, senior voting system analyst piloted the Dominion Voting Systems system in November as well as in May and June.
“The Dominion system is a state-of-the-art voting system that is efficient, accessible, transparent and secure for both voters and election officials,” McReynolds said. “We are proud to implement it as a pilot county so that we could provide an enhanced customer experience for our voters. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive from Denver voters and our team members and we have seen tremendous efficiencies and cost savings that also benefit our taxpayers.”
Mesa County Clerk Shelia Reiner and Elections Director Amanda Polson ran the Dominion pilot in their county.
“The Dominion Voting System was easy to understand in programming and ballot layout, the central scanners and electronic adjudication proved to be extremely efficient,” Reiner said. “The in-person voting solution was intuitive and easy to navigate. Dominion Voting earned Mesa County’s stamp of approval!”
Jefferson County Clerk Faye Griffin and Director of Elections Carrie Kellogg were responsible for the ES&S test in their county as were Teller County Clerk Krystal Brown, Chief Deputy Stephanie Wise and Election Deputy Janice Hellman in their county.
“Overall, our election judges, staff and voters liked the equipment,” Kellogg said. “Our election judges commented on the ease of set-up, administration and operation of the ballot marking device and tabulation scanners. The feedback that we received from voters was overwhelming positive. We also received a few suggestions for improvements that will be evaluated by our staff and the vendor representatives.”
The Hart Intercivic pilot was conducted in Douglas and Garfield counties. In Douglas County, Clerk Merlin Klotz and Elections Manager Sheri Davis were in charge and in Garfield County it was Clerk Jean Alberico, Chief Deputy Edna Place, Election Supervisor Pam Bunn and Election Clerk Maria Gornick.
“The Garfield County election staff was impressed with the Hart Verity System,” Aberico said. “We have used the Hart Voting system since 2006 and the new Verity Voting System is an exponential upgrade. The entire process from building of the ballot, creating ballots, scanning ballots, resolving ballots and tabulation of results flows in a more logical and intuitive manner. The Verity Touch Writer and Verity Scan are much easier to transport, set-up, and use by both election judges and voters than the eSlates and eScans.
“The scanning of the ballots on the batch scanner went a lot quicker with far fewer stoppages and hang-ups. The in-person voters who used the Touch Writers were pleased with how simple it was to vote using that device.”
(Lynn Bartels worked as a journalist for 35 years, including 16 years at the Rocky Mountain News and six years at The Denver Post, before retiring in 2015 and going to work as the spokeswoman for the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office.)
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