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Colorado May Move to Vote by Mail Due to Faulty Electronic Voting Machines
J. Mijin Cha on January 10, 2008 - 10:08am
After a court-mandated retesting of electronic voting equipment, Colorado's Republican Secretary of State Mike Coffman decided to decertify electronic voting machines in the state due to security and accuracy problems. The testing found that the system had a one percent error rate when counting ballots, i.e. for every 100 ballots tested, there was an error with one of the ballots. In the 2006 election, 2,533,919 votes were cast and, according to the testing, 25,339 ballots would have had an error.
Legislative leaders in the state have proposed that Colorado become the second state, after Oregon, to exclusively use mail-in voting. In fact, House Speaker Andrew Romanoff (D-Denver) said his preference is for mail-only balloting as a permanent solution. Currently, mail-in voting in Colorado has been available since 1992 and about 30% of the statewide votes in the last few elections have come in by mail.
Oregon's Secretary of State, Bill Bradbury, pointed out that elections in Oregon have record turnout with none of the problems that other states face. Oregon voters can mail in their ballots or drop them off any several official sites located throughout the state. In addition to increasing the number of participants, the cost of vote by mail elections in Oregon is 30% less than polling place elections.
The Ohio Secretary of State has also found that her state's voting machines were unstable and had serious security concerns. While not requiring complete mandatory mail in voting, the Secretary did recommend a permanent, no-excuse absentee provision that would allow voters to vote by absentee ballot without having an excuse. Four states currently allow permanent no-excuse absentee voting with an additional 24 states allowing non-permanent no-excuse absentee voting.