Colorado Secretary of State Mike Coffman last week announced his recommendation to the Legislature for a polling place election using paper ballots for the 2008 presidential election.
"I have more confidence in having votes cast on paper ballots at the polls rather than relying exclusively on electronic voting machines or in voting by mail. If Douglas County had paper ballots available for voters at their vote centers in the 2006 mid-term election they would not have the distinction of having the last vote cast in the country sometime after 1:00 am on the following day." said Coffman.
According to Coffman, the Legislature needs to remember that federal law still requires that at least one handicapped accessible electronic voting machine be made available in every voting location. If Colorado holds an all mail ballot general election, then at least one of these machines still will be required at every place in the county that voters are allowed to drop off ballots. "No matter how the Legislature ultimately decides to conduct the election, we will still need some electronic voting machines," Coffman stated.
Coffman has been pushing hard since he decertified many of the electronic voting machines and optical scan devices used in Colorado, to get the problems he identified with the security and accuracy of the voting equipment resolved in time for the 2008 election.
Coffman has not been supportive of the majority of county clerks who want the Legislature to approve an all mail ballot for the 2008 presidential election.
"Today, voters in general elections have the ability to either vote by absentee ballot or in person at a polling place. I think these choices ought to be preserved," said Coffman.
Coffman did acknowledge that county clerks are overwhelmed with managing an election process that is continually changing and becoming more and more challenging.
"County clerks are the hardest working elected officials in Colorado and I fully understand that switching to an all mail ballot system will lighten their load considerably and that's something for the Legislature to consider. Whichever way the Legislature chooses to go, I will work with them as well as the county clerks to make it the best election possible," said Coffman.