Election Reform Commission Briefing
COMMITTEE ON JOINT STATE VETERANS & MILITARY AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
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07:35 AM -- Election Reform Commission Briefing
The committee was called to order. A quorum was present. Senator Ken Gordon, Chair, and Deputy Secretary of State Bill Hobbs, Vice-Chair, Election Reform Commission (ERC), presented the commission's final report (a copy of the report is on file with Legislative Council Staff). Committee members received written commentary from Coloradans for Voting Integrity on certain ERC recommendations (Attachment A), copies of an opinion piece that appeared in the Denver Post (Attachment B), and a memorandum on the ERC recommendations prepared by the American Statistical Association (Attachment C). Senator Gordon provided background on the commission's work, and the events that led to the formation of the commission, including the decertification of certain voting technologies by the Secretary of State. Senator Gordon also explained the status of requirements associated with voting system certification, and provided general background on problems associated with election technologies. Senator Gordon then discussed a recommendation to sunset the use of direct recording electronic (DRE) voting technologies by 2014, and the process by which the ERC's Technology and Auditing Subcommittee crafted the recommendation. Senator Gordon then turned the discussion to recommendations that originated with the commission's two other subcommittees.
Mr. Hobbs briefed the joint committee on the ERC's work, and the process by which the commission produced its recommendations. Senator Gordon responded to questions regarding the security of electronic voting machines required by the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) to be available to persons with disabilities. Discussion ensued regarding the use of electronic machines by certain populations if the state adopts an all-paper-ballot voting format in the future. Senator Gordon responded to further questions regarding a commission recommendation pertaining to the ability of a voter to declare a party affiliation. Discussion followed regarding the commission's opinion on Internet voting, and the time frame associated with forwarding commission recommendations as legislation.
Senator Gordon discussed the potential for adopting legislation to address the sunsetting of state law that allows for certification of certain voting technologies. Discussion ensued regarding an ERC recommendation to require photograph identification when registering to vote. Discussion followed regarding funding sources for the Statewide Colorado Registration and Elections (SCORE) system. Discussion returned to the issue of certifying electronic voting technologies by the Secretary of State, and the performance of electronic systems during the 2008 election.
Discussion continued regarding electronic voting system certification, potential problems with electronic voting systems, and issues associated with the use of these technologies for the 2010 election. The discussion included the need for legislation to address the certification issue. Representative Murray offered input on auditing voter-verified paper audit trails. Discussion followed regarding the ERC's position on the use of all-mail balloting in a general election, and the use of this system in other states for all elections.
Discussion returned to the ERC recommendation to move to a paper-based voting system after 2013, and adjustments that would need to be made by counties to achieve this. Senator Gordon responded to questions regarding a commission recommendation to overhaul the state's active/inactive statute. Discussion ensued regarding issues associated with the active/inactive statute. Discussion followed regarding input received by the commission from the county clerks, and the position of the clerks on the commission's recommendation pertaining to the phasing out of DRE technologies.
Mr. Hobbs provided a wrap-up on the ERC's activities and recommendations. Discussion ensued regarding a commission recommendation to allow the use of tribal identification for voter registration, and the process by which commission recommendations might take the form of legislation. Mr. Hobbs responded to questions regarding a comparison of Colorado's voting system certification standards with other states. Mr. Hobbs responded to further questions regarding litigation that was initiated against the Secretary of State during the run-up to the 2008 general election, and the issues involved in the litigation.
Discussion ensued regarding the use of provisional ballots, and the process by which provisional ballots are counted. Discussion turned to the situations in which provisional ballots are used, and proof required for use of a provisional ballot. Senator Gordon provided a wrap-up on the ERC's work.
The commission adjourned.