Elections panel to make recommendation on voting machines to Secretary Wayne Williams

Members of the Pilot Election Review Committee looking at voting systems for Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams are, left to right, attorney Jennifer Levin with Disability Law Colorado; El Paso County Clerk Chuck Broerman; Dwight Shellman with the secretary of state's office; Eagle County Clerk Teak Simonton; former Secretary of State Donetta Davidson; Clarissa Arellano Thomas, PERC chair and a member of an earlier group looking at voting machines; former Morgan County Clerk and Recorder Connie Ingmir; and Weld County Commissioner Steve Moreno, former clerk and recorder. (Eddie Morgan/SOS)
Members of the Pilot Election Review Committee looking at voting systems for Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams are, left to right, attorney Jennifer Levin with Disability Law Colorado; El Paso County Clerk Chuck Broerman; Dwight Shellman with the secretary of state’s office; Eagle County Clerk Teak Simonton; former Secretary of State Donetta Davidson; Clarissa Arellano Thomas, PERC chair and a member of an earlier group looking at voting machines; former Morgan County Clerk and Recorder Connie Ingmire; and Weld County Commissioner Steve Moreno, former clerk and recorder. (Eddie Morgan/SOS)

Four voting machine companies on Friday pitched their systems to a committee appointed by Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams to look at moving the state to a universal voting system.

The Pilot Election Review Committee, or PERC,  has been meeting for months and members checked machines from the four firms that provided equipment for eight counties in the Nov. 3 election.

“The PERC members bring vast experience from many different levels across the state of Colorado,” Williams said. “I appreciate their dedication and diligence and look forward to their recommendation.”

A video of the day-long hearing will be available at the Colorado Secretary of State’s website next week. The committee will next meet on Dec. 4, where pilot county election staff has been invited to discuss their experiences with voting systems and answer questions of committee. The committee is expected to vote on a recommendation to Secretary Williams at its Dec. 11 meeting.

Read moreElections panel to make recommendation on voting machines to Secretary Wayne Williams

Colorado voters in eight counties tested new voting systems

E-2, a 3-month old Australian Shepard owned by Casey and Rick Newman, is in training to be a service dog. She is learning the Clear Access voting system in order to assist disabled Gilpin County voters. The Gilpin County Clerk and Recorder’s office was one of two pilot county for the Clear Ballot voting system. (Gilpin County clerk's office)
E-2, a 3-month old Australian Sheperd owned by a Gilpin County election judge, checks out new voting equipment. E-2 is in training to be a service dog, including assisting disabled Gilpin County voters. Gilpin was one of eight Colorado counties involved in a pilot program testing voting systems. (Gilpin County clerk’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.

Read moreColorado voters in eight counties tested new voting systems

Secretary Wayne Williams: “looking for better elections in Colorado”

The Teller County clerk got a visit Monday from Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Matt Masterson, a federal elections commissioner checking out Colorado counties testing new voting equipment. From left to right are: elections deputy Janice Hellman, Masterson, Williams, Clerk Krystal Brown and chief deputy clerk Stephanie Wise.
The Teller County clerk got a visit Monday from Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Matt Masterson, a federal elections commissioner checking out Colorado counties testing new voting equipment. From left to right are: elections deputy Janice Hellman, Masterson, Williams, Clerk Krystal Brown and chief deputy clerk Stephanie Wise.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams visited Teller County today talking to Clerk and Recorder Krystal Brown, who is one of eight county clerks participating in a pilot program testing voting machines.

The state is looking toward going to as few as one voting system, instead of the patchwork system currently in operation throughout the state. The four companies involved in the pilot program are Dominion, Hart InterCivic, ES&S and Clear Ballot.

Williams last week visited other pilot counties as well as new clerks and recorders who took office in January in preparation for Election Day on Tuesday.

Reading glasses for Teller County voters.
Reading glasses for Teller County voters.

Stephanie Wise, the chief deputy clerk for Teller County, said elections are stressful, but the visit from Williams and Matt Masterson, a commissioner with the U.S. Election Assistance Commission was anything but.

“It was a nice visit,” she said.

She said Teller has two voter centers, one in Woodland Park and one in Cripple Creek, and the judges are “bored to tears.” That’s because, she said, most Coloradans mail in their ballots. All ballots must be returned by 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Williams said Teller offered a nice touch for voters: a pair of reading glasses for those that have hit that age.

Here are reports from Adams, Douglas, Morgan and Weld counties about the secretary’s visits:

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams with Christi Coburn, elections administrator for Adams County, and Adams County Clerk Stan Martin.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams with Christi Coburn, elections administrator for Adams County, and Adams County Clerk Stan Martin.

ADAMS COUNTY

Adams County Clerk Stan Martin said Williams toured the county’s election facility to get an idea of “a day in the life of a mail ballot.”  Williams also thanked Adams for being one of eight counties participating in the pilot program to test systems from four different companies.

“He said, ‘We’re looking for better elections in Colorado,”’ Martin reported.

Adams  and Gilpin counties are testing the Clear Ballot  ballot system.  Martin and Gilpin Clerk Colleen Stewart are big fans.

“The more I learn about the other systems, the more I like Clear Ballot,” Martin said. “I’m looking for three things: accuracy, effectiveness and transparency.”

Read moreSecretary Wayne Williams: “looking for better elections in Colorado”

Secretary of State Wayne Williams hits the road again, now checking out voting machines

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams with Gilpin County Clerk Colleen Stewart, left, and chief deputy clerk Gail Maxwell, right. It was snowing in Central City when Williams arrived. The hand-stitched flag, which hangs in the commissioners’ room, has 38 stars and commemorates Colorado’s entry into the union as the 38th state, on July 4, 1876.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams with Gilpin County Clerk Colleen Stewart, left, and chief deputy clerk Gail Maxwell, right. It was snowing in Central City when Williams arrived. The large hand-stitched flag they are standing in front of has 38 stars and commemorates Colorado’s entry into the union as the 38th state, on July 4, 1876. It hangs in the commissioners room.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams got a taste of the high country’s first significant snowfall when he traveled to Garfield and Gilpin counties this week to check out new voting machines its clerks are testing as part of a pilot program.

Williams plans to certify a new voting machine system for next year, “putting the state on track to move away from a patchwork of voting machines to a single system,” as the Associated Press’ Kristen Wyatt put it.

Eight counties are participating in the pilot program to test machines from four different companies. After the Nov.  3 election, the systems will be evaluated.

Gilpin County Clerk Colleen Stewart said she loves the machines from Clear Ballot that her county is testing. Garfield County Clerk Jean Alberico was equally enthusiastic about the latest machines from Hart InterCivic that her voters are using.

And both clerks were impressed that Williams visited on Tuesday to see what was happening with the testing.

“I really appreciate it that he is a hands-on secretary,” Stewart said. “Being an ex-county clerk, he knows what we’re going through. He really understands elections.”

Read moreSecretary of State Wayne Williams hits the road again, now checking out voting machines

Colorado secretary of state visits Mesa County

Secretary of State Wayne Williams on Monday visited Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Sheila Rainer and elections director Amanda Polson. Mesa is one of eight counties involved in a pilot program testing voting equipment in the Nov. 3 election.
Secretary of State Wayne Williams on Monday visited Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Sheila Reiner and elections director Amanda Polson. Mesa is one of eight counties involved in a pilot program testing voting equipment in the Nov. 3 election.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams dropped by the Mesa County clerk and recorder’s office on Monday to visit with clerk Sheila Reiner and discuss voting equipment the county will be using on Nov. 3.

Mesa County is one of eight volunteer counties that is testing equipment from four different voting-machine companies. Each of the four vendors is operating in one large county and a smaller county. Dominion is providing the equipment used in Denver and Mesa counties.

The system must be able to process mail ballots and allow for in-person voting for those who still mark their ballots in person at county polling centers, Williams said.

The other companies and the counties they are partnered with are: Clear Ballot, Adams and Gilpin; ES&S in Jefferson and Teller; and Hart Intercivic in Douglas and Garfield.

The state is looking to eventually adopt a uniform voting system.

Reiner praised the secretary of state.

“Wayne’s accessible. He’s been a good partner,” she said.

Williams will be in Alamosa Tuesday for the fall conference for the southern county clerks.  He was in Limon last week for the fall conference for the eastern county clerks.