Boulder County Voting System - Overview

 Major elections shocks in recent years
  Florida, 2000.  Say no more.  Say no more....
  Discovery of major flaws in most electronic voting systems, 2003

 Proposed Federal legislation, HR 2239, requires a paper trail, bans
 the use of undisclosed software, and requires mandatory surprise
 recounts in 0.5% of jurisdictions.

 Boulder is in a difficult situation
  Our old DataVote system is no longer working
  No modern voting standards yet from EAC/NIST - in progress, underfunded
  Vendors are pushing "Digital Record Electronic" equipment that
   puts your ballot at risk
  Secretary of State's office says it is illegal for even the County
    Clerk to compare machine results with a random hand count sample.
  Colorado recount law ties our hands also - no hand recounts allowed.

 Boulder has some real strengths
  Commissioners are very upset about Colorado law, and are opposed to
   any system without real paper ballots
  Udall supports HR 2239
  Dedicated and savvy citizens are working for a better system

 PLAN Boulder County sent the Commissioners a letter calling for
 voter-verified, full-text, physically marked paper ballots; leasing
 equipment until the technical standards required by the HAVA have
 been finalized; verifying the machine counts with a random sample
 hand count; and full public disclosure of voting software.

 I note with great respect that the job of the Elections division is
 very hard.  Very high stakes, hard deadlines, strict rules,
 complicated systems, 100,000 voters, volunteer labor, etc.

 But in this situation, we need the Elections division to engage and
 fight on behalf of the citizens, working for change from the vendors,
 at the Secretary of State's office, in the legislature, and on the
 national scene.

 Instead, in hearings before the commissioners, the clerk's office has
 said they have "postponed a decision to purchase a DRE", rather than
 requiring alternatives to DREs, like vote marking machines which meet
 accessibility requirements and simply produce paper ballots.  The
 Clerk has remained neutral on HR 2239 and the disclosure issue, and
 has not protested the position of the Secretary of State's office
 against verification of results via random sampling.

Neal McBurnett
Last modified: Fri Apr 23 14:55:06 MDT 2004 Online at