Senate Committee Backs Paper Ballot Election

By  | 

Denver (AP) A plan to conduct this year's election mostly by paper ballots has passed its first test at the state capitol even though all of the state's electronic voting machines have now been approved for use in this year's elections.

Both republicans and democrats on the Senate State Veterans and Military Affairs Committee backed the bill, sending it to another committee to review its cost. Backers say it could cost about $5 million, but county clerks put the price tag at least $11 million.

Most county clerks and Secretary of State Mike Coffman oppose the paper ballot plan. Those clerks want to be able to use the electronic voting machines which Coffman decertified in December but recently recertified with conditions he says will make sure the machines are secure.

But legislative leaders and Governor Ritter are concerned the state could be sued again if they allow the machines to be widely used. If the courts get involved, they say the state could be forced to switch last-minute to a paper ballot system anyway.

Federal law requires that at least one electronic voting machine be available at each polling location for handicapped voters and anyone else who wishes to use one. Under the bill, voters would automatically be given a paper ballot unless they specifically ask
to use a voting machine.