Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Verifiable, Open and Transparent
Elections Act Moves Ahead

DENVER—Today the Senate State Affairs Committee approved SB08-189, the long-awaited VOTE Act of 2008, a bi-partisan bill aimed at ensuring accurate and secure elections in 2008.

Sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon (D-Denver) and Senator Andy McElhany (R-Colorado Springs), the bill will help to restore voter confidence in Colorado’s election system following Secretary of State Mike Coffman’s decertification of voting machines. 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.

Given the unprecedented voter turnout in Colorado’s caucuses and across the country, the 2008 general election will likely have a larger turnout than any previous election conducted in the state’s history.

“This bill will require that the 2008 election be conducted primarily by paper ballot,” Gordon said. “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.”

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.