Grand County updates electronic voting equipment | SkyHiNews.com

Grand County updates electronic voting equipment

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi Daily News

With the Hart brand of electronic voting equipment recertified by the state, the county decided to make a major upgrade to its equipment Tuesday.

Grand County Clerk Sara Rosene requested that the county purchase one central scanning machine and the appropriate program to make ballot processing more efficient in November.

Commissioners approved an expense of $110,000 ” $60,000 of which was budgeted ” to purchase the Hart Ballot Origination Software System set-up equipment and the Hart BallotNow scanning machine to replace four existing smaller scanners that failed in the past and needed repairs. Even with the four scanners in working order, “They are not enough” to cover all precincts or voting centers in the county for the November election, Rosene said.

Word among Colorado’s county clerks is that the standard-sized ballots in the upcoming election are predicted to be two-sided, two pages long.

The new central scanner, which would be located at the courthouse, will be used to count all ballots on Election Day more efficiently, Rosene said, and has the capability to scan larger ballots.

To help get accurate results in a timely manner, certified election judges would be able to pick up completed ballots throughout the county earlier in the day, thereby keeping an ongoing tabulation.

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To save the county about $6,000, ballots will be printed by the county. Although printing would be done in-house, Rosene said, the specialty ballot paper used would be water-marked and bar-coded with numbered stubs to prevent any duplicate ballots.

The state rectified the Hart optical scanner, the eScan, central count scanner and BallotNow software, but imposed two requirements: (1) that language be included on the ballot notifying voters of the need to check their ballots carefully for any extraneous or stray marks within the voting boxes, and (2) in any recount, every ballot must be physically examined for the presence of extraneous marks in voting boxes so that voter intent can be properly recorded by election judges.

Trestle project

The Trestle Townhome Development near Fraser may see a reprieve.

Grand County will start advertising requests for proposal to seek construction bids on how to correct serious drainage issues the neighborhood’s developer left behind last year. Improvements in the development were completed incorrectly, according to Grand County, and because of this, the county is using the bond that guaranteed completion of improvements to pay for fixing the problem. This attempt to secure a contractor for the project is the second attempt to get the work done.

Winter Park resident joins Udall’s team

Matt Sugar of Winter Park is the new western slope field director for U.S. Rep. Mark Udall of the 2nd District.

Sugar, recent director of communications at Winter Park Resort then director of communications for the Colorado Democratic Party, joined Udall’s staff a week and a half ago.

Udall’s Western Slope office covers Grand, Summit and Eagle counties with an office in Minturn.

Sugar said he plans to remain a Winter Park resident. “That hasn’t changed,” he said.

Udall is a Colorado Democratic candidate running for the U.S. Senate in the 2008 election against fellow Democrat Mark Benner and Bob Shaffer, R-Fort Collins. The secretary of state lists another Green Party candidate, Bruce Lohmiller of Grand Junction.

Besides his new position working for the congressman, Sugar continues to hold his post as a Gov. Bill Ritter-appointed Great Outdoors Colorado board member for the 2nd Congressional District.

Sugar attended Grand County’s Board of County Commissioner’s meeting Tuesday to introduce himself and offer his services to the people of Grand County on behalf of Udall.

Besides commissioners’ request for help with water issues as the West Slope works to defend its streams, rivers and natural lakes, Commissioner Gary Bumgarner brought up a federal item with which the county has struggled involving Grand County’s veterans. Veterans are forced to drive two hours to the nearest veteran medical facility, Bumgarner said, and past efforts to find a way for veterans to use local medical facilities with reimbursement have been unsuccessful.

“WWII veterans 80 and 90 years old are told they have to drive two hours,” Bumgarner said. Sugar said he would look into the commissioner’s request. Coincidentally, he said, Congress is looking to re-examine American Veterans benefits on a national scale.

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