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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.”
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.