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E-Vote: Colorado Secretary of State Wants Federal Testing of Voting Equipment

January 9, 2008 By

Colorado Secretary of State Mike Coffman, who last month recommended paper ballots for the upcoming elections, followed that with a recommendation that voting system testing and certification be conducted by the United States Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) instead of the state, and recommended that the General Assembly introduce legislation to that effect this month.  

"The testing of electronic voting equipment is extremely important," said Coffman in a release. "Now that the EAC is ready to take over the responsibility for the testing of voting equipment, Colorado should not duplicate the Commission's efforts."

The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) was passed in 2002 creating the federal Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) along with a mandate for the newly formed agency to establish standards for electronic voting equipment and to supervise a federal certification process that would give assurances to the states that their voting equipment met standards of reliability, were secure, and could accurately count every vote.

Since the passage of HAVA, the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) assumed responsibility for certifying electronic voting equipment. However, the EAC now has the ability to perform these functions, according to Coffman.

Russ Ragsdale, Broomfield City and County clerk, has been serving for the last three years in an advisory role to the EAC as a representative of Colorado election officials.

"There has been little focus on the certification process at the federal level until the creation of the EAC. The EAC has now been able to bring resources to bear such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology to help develop a process that states can have confidence in," said Ragsdale.

Coffman wants legislation that would allow his office to accept federal certification of electronic voting equipment and would only require him to test for Colorado specific election issues that might not be covered in the federal certification process.

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