Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Ritter, Legislators Want Paper Ballot-Only Elections in '08

Gov. Bill Ritter, flanked by legislative leaders, announced at a press conference this afternoon that he thinks the state should conduct traditional polling place, paper ballot elections this year.

The governor's stance places him at odds with the preferences of county clerks, who have said they would like elections this year to be conducted via mail ballots.

Paper ballots "ensure a verifiable paper trail and minimize the possibility of technology failures that have caused Election Day problems in the past," said Ritter.

Ritter also sent a letter to county clerks laying out his opinion on how elections should be administered in the aftermath of the Dec. 17 decision by Secretary of State Mike Coffman to decertify electronic voting machines.

"While we understand that some clerks may have preferred a different outcome, we will continue to work with you to ensure a successful election process," Ritter wrote.

Coffman mildly criticized Ritter's decision following the press conference.

"The clerks are the ones who administer elections, and it is only fair that we defer to their judgment," said Coffman, who nevertheless agreed that the governor and legislature have the right to make the rules.

House Majority Leader Alice Madden, D-Boulder, Rep. David Balmer, R-Centennial, and Sen. Ken Gordon, D-Denver, will sponsor legislation aimed at writing Ritter's preference for traditional polling place, paper-ballot elections into law.