On Tuesday, Colorado Secretary of State Mike Coffman announced that Election Systems and Software (ES&S) optical scanners, the M100 precinct optical scanner and M650 central count scanner, are conditionally certified for use in Colorado. The announcement completes the review of voting equipment established under HB-1155 and reverses Coffman's December 17, 2007 decision to decertify the equipment following a court-ordered recertification process.
The major deficiency of the M100 and M650, as identified by the Secretary of State's Testing Board, said Coffman's office in a release, was a failure to complete the testing threshold of 10,000 ballots due to vendor programming errors. The Testing Board and the vendor failed on numerous occasions to successfully process 10,000 ballots as required by rule. The failures stemmed from the vendor's inability to provide compatible programming and ballots prior to the November 29, 2007 deadline, which resulted in incomplete testing and decertification.
As outlined in the provisions under HB-1155, the Testing Board, through its cooperation with the county election officials from Mesa and Jefferson counties and representatives from ES&S, successfully performed the necessary testing.
The Testing Board also identified an inability to detect software programming changes. As a condition for use of the system, counties will be required to create a secured copy of the database for use during the election process. This secured copy, plus county security procedures already in use, will mitigate the risk of programming errors and create an audit trail to detect security violations.
Currently, Jefferson and Mesa counties utilize the ES&S optical scanners. Since the passage of HB-1155, Coffman has recertified all equipment submitted in 2007.
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