New voting machinery replaces decade-old equipment
Grand County’s new voting machinery — a new vote counting and recording system acquired this year — was put through its first official paces Tuesday for the municipal election.
The new system, which Grand County Clerk Sara Rosene called an election setup and counting system, was formally leased by the county in 2017. The clerk’s office received the actual equipment in late January of this year. The system replaces voting equipment that is now over a decade old. The previous system is a Hart Voting System, which the county still has in its possession, and was purchased in 2006.
The new system, which is made by Dominion Voting System, was leased for an eight-year period at a price of $29,820.70 per year. The system includes multiple pieces of voting and vote counting machinery. The county received an $8,000 rebate from the state for its first year. The new system operates in a somewhat different fashion than the previous system.
The state develops a ballot template, which includes all statewide and national races as well as state wide ballot questions, that is then sent to the various counties across Colorado. Local clerk’s office input local candidates and ballot questions onto the template, which is then printed prior to being mailed to voters. Grand County has its own ballot printing machines, which was provided by the state during the tenure of former Secretary of State Scott Gessler.
The ballots are then mailed out to voters who fill out their individual ballots and either mail them back to the clerk’s office or drop them off at the various 24-hour drop boxes in Grand County. The new Dominion Voting System is then used to scan and count the ballots, which are then reviewed through and adjudication program that is part of the new voting system.
“All of the adjudication decisions can be reviewed,” Rosene explained. “After the review the votes are published and become available.”
Rosene said the county decided to lease the new equipment based primarily on the age of the previous system that was being utilized.
“It was time to update,” Rosene said. “We are so far behind, technology wise with the hard equipment, it really made sense for us.”
Rosene added that the new system allows for an easier vote auditing process, which double checks the formal voting results that are sent to the state against the results stored at the Grand County courthouse.
It is worth noting the Colorado legislature passed a law in 2013 that made the state an all mail ballot state, which started in 2014. Under Colorado’s system mail ballots are sent to registered voters but counties throughout Colorado must maintain voting service centers, where citizens can vote in person if they desire.
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