Tuesday, February 26, 2008
BI-PARTISAN LAWMAKERS UNVEIL 2008 ELECTIONS BILL
DENVER—Democratic and Republican legislative leaders today announced the introduction of a major bi-partisan bill designed to ensure fair and secure elections in 2008.
Sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon, Senate Minority Leader Andy McElhany, House Minority Leader Mike May and House Majority Leader Alice Madden, the bill calls for the use of paper ballots at polling places in addition to early or mail voting and federally-mandated electronic voting machines.
The 2008 general election will likely have a larger turnout than any previous election conducted in Colorado. In order to take pressure off of Election Day, to reduce the possibility of long lines, and allow clerks to start counting votes at the earliest possible time, the bill’s sponsors are encouraging Coloradans to exercise their right to vote by ordering a mailed ballot, or by voting at an early-vote location.
“The election bill filed today will require that the 2008 election be conducted primarily by paper ballot, said Gordon. “We think that this is the method that will best ensure that everyone will be able to vote and that the votes will be counted accurately.”
“We look forward to working with our clerks to provide transparent, accountable and fair elections, even if that means going ‘Old School,’” said Madden.
“It is essential that we do all that we can to ensure that our election process is fair and accurate,” May said. “The legislation we are announcing today is a step in the right direction toward safeguarding that process for every registered voter in Colorado.”
Details of the legislation:
The 2008 election will be conducted primarily by paper ballots. Polling places will be located in precincts, “super”—i.e. combined—precincts, or vote centers. The bill allows counties that have successfully conducted vote center elections in the past to continue to do so.
The counties will educate voters about exactly where to vote as the primary and general elections near.
Voters may still choose and are encouraged to vote by mail-in ballot. All electors are still eligible to gain permanent mail-in ballot status.
The electronic voting machines required by the Help America Vote Act will still be available to voters who wish to use them.
All Colorado voters may continue to cast ballots at early voting sites—early voting sites open 15 days before the general election, and 10 days before the primary election.
The voter information card will now be sent to all registered electors except those who have changed addresses and been designated inactive. The voter information card includes the registered elector’s name and address, precinct number, and polling place, and gives voters the option to choose mail-in ballots permanently.
The bill directs the Secretary of State’s office to convene a working group to consider how to improve audits and recounts.