Voting technology roundup: Midwest

A look at e-vote prospects for nine states in the heartland

STATES: Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. (Iowa is listed on the Lake States page.)

Colorado and Missouri are the Midwest's potential flashpoints. Colorado found itself in court this year over the use of electronic voting machines lacking paper-trail recording capabilities. Missouri struggled to bring its voter registration database into federal compliance after one county clerk demanded that the state pick up the county's compliance expenses, and it's also one of the states around the country in court over new and potentially discriminatory ID laws. Electionline flags Colorado as one of its 10 states to watch, with (dis)honorable mention going to Missouri (database problems, voter ID turmoil) and Montana (potentially chaotic plans for election-day voter registrations).

evoting checkmark
 indicates a state where at least some precincts are using electronic voting systems without a voter verified paper audit trail.

COLORADO
Registered voters

Approx. 2,307,000
Voting equipment vendors
BRC, Diebold, ES&S, Hart InterCivic, Sequoia
Technologies
Direct-recording electronic system with voter-verified paper audit trail (DRE/VVPAT), handcount, optical.
Legal requirements
State law requires voter-verifiable paper records and manual audits in randomly selected precincts. A suit seeking to ban the use of DRE machines was filed and heard in 2006; in September, the judge ruled that even though he believed the machines to be flawed, there wasn't time to change the system before the November elections. The machines are to be recertified after the elections. In a 2006 election in Summit County, Hart InterCivic machines misprinted absentee ballots, sending the Republican version to both Republican and Democratic voters; Boulder County citizens have previously filed suit protesting the Hart system's practice of printing bar codes and serial numbers on ballots, which could allow the ballots to be traced back to specific voters.
Voter registration database
In flux. State contracted with Accenture but contract was cancelled in December 2005. New contract awarded to Saber August 2006.
Government links
- GoVoteColorado.com (Secretary of State's site)
- State of Colorado Security Procedures for Electronic Voting Systems (PDF format )
- Voting equipment used in November 2005 election (PDF format )
- HAVA plan (PDF format )
Statewide Voter Registration System
Watchdog sites
Coloradoans for Voting Integrity
Computerworld coverage
Colorado election to proceed despite e-voting flaws, Sept. 27, 2006
Elsewhere in the news
Chaos: Problems worsen, Dems seek voting extension, Denver Post, Nov. 7, 2006
Up to 30,000 ballots will be hand-recopied, Denver Post, Oct 27, 2006
Colo. Judge Grudgingly Approves Machine Vote, Washington Post, Sept. 23, 2006
Concerns growing for use of Colorado voting machines: Official who certified devices has no computer science training, AP via dailycamera.com, Sept. 17, 2006
Suit: Ban computer voting, Rocky Mountain News, Sept. 15, 2006
Party primary preparation, Colorado Daily, June 22, 2006
Voting machines touch off debate, Durango Herald, June 19, 2006

Return to the main map for Election 2006: Can we count on e-voting?

evoting checkmark

KANSAS
Registered voters

Approx. 1,338,000
Voting equipment vendors
Diebold, ES&S, Voting Technologies International
Technologies
Optical scan, DRE, ballot-marking, hand count
Legal requirements
State legislation requiring voter-verifiable paper trails and manual audits of randomly selected precincts has been proposed but not enacted. At least some DRE machines in Kansas cannot produce a voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT).
Voter registration database
Statewide ELVIS database in use. State switched from Accenture to ES&S in March 2005. Kansas is working with Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri to build an interstate cross-checking program for voter data.
Government links
Elections and Legislative
- Certified Voting Systems in Kansas (PDF format )
- Kansas Voting Systems by county (PDF format )
- "Canvassing Kansas" (newsletter), March 2006 (PDF format )
- HAVA final plan (PDF format )
In the news
New machines alter way we vote, Salina Journal, Oct. 21, 2006 (Morganville Mayor Arnie Knoettgen says: "They oughta take those voting machines and shove 'em, but they didn't ask me about that.")
Computer glitch stalls some election results, AP via Contra Costa (CA) Times, Aug. 2, 2006
Electronic voting still worries some people, Harris News Service via Hutchinson News, July 28, 2006

Return to the main map for Election 2006: Can we count on e-voting?

MISSOURI
Registered voters

Approx. 3,336,000
Voting equipment vendors
Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia, Populex
Technologies
Ballot-marking, optical scan, DRE/VVPAT
Legal requirements
State legislation requires a voter-verifiable paper record, but there is no requirement that precincts be randomly selected for manual auditing.
Voter registration database
Statewide database in use and contracted to Maximus. A deal made with final holdout Boone County in June 2006 brought all 116 counties into the system after the Department of Justice filed suit to move the process along. (The county's election supervisor, Wendy Noren, has reportedly threatened to go back to pen and paper if her ES&S ballots don't arrive in time for use.) A recent tug-of-war over photo identification requirements may lead to voter confusion at the polls.
Government links
Elections Division
Qualified Voting Systems
HAVA information
Watchdog sites
Missourians For Honest Elections
In the news
Voting problems likely in state, observers warn, AP via Springfield News-Leader, Oct. 25, 2006
Salon's shameful six, Salon.com, Aug. 15, 2006
Firm's operations could trouble voters, (AccuPoll's financial woes; firm had been certified for Mo. elections), St. Louis Post-Dispatch /Newsdesk.org, Aug. 13, 2005

Return to the main map for Election 2006: Can we count on e-voting?

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