New voting machines come to Pitkin County
Pitkin County will be among a couple dozen Colorado counties adopting new state-mandated voting machines for the 2016 elections.
Earlier this month the U.S. Election Assistance Commission invited election chairs of various battleground states to Washington D.C. to find out how they are preparing for the intense scrutiny their state’s election process will be under. Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams stressed the importance of transparency in winning the confidence of the national electorate.
"That’s why as we gather together today as swing states or as states that may have a very large role in deciding who the next president of the united states is going to be, people need to have confidence. Not just our residents, but people from across the country.”
Williams was questioned though, about the state's new universal voting machine mandate, and the decision by about a quarter of the counties - including Pitkin- to change out machines during such a high profile year. Pitkin County Clerk Janice Vos Caudill is working on the equipment change that she says will come with more pros than cons. The current machines can count 400 ballots an hour, the new ones can do that amount in five minutes.
Vos Caudill says there are more funds in the county’s capital reserve budget than needed to purchase the new Dominions Voting system, but that her office is still assessing logistics like the number of machines needed, the IT support that would be available with the electronic-based machines, and how to inform voters about the equipment change.
The new machines should come in in March - at the same time party caucuses are held and the clerk's office begins its relocation into the Ute building. There will be demonstrations for the public to see the new machines before they are used in Aspen for the June primary. Both the primary and general elections are all-mail ballots, so voters will only come across the new machines if they vote in person. For November’s presidential election there will also be in-person voting locations in Snowmass Village and Emma.
Garfield County Clerk Jean Alberico says they will be sticking with their current elections equipment for now - when they do update they will have to use the state-required Dominions Voting system.