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Greeley Colorado Tribune

Weld voting method under scrutiny

September 21, 2006
By Vanessa Delgado

With only six weeks until Election Day, Weld County will be left scrambling if Denver District Court bans the use of electronic voting machines.

"The time frame to switch tracks right now is near to impossible," said Steve Moreno, Weld County clerk and recorder. ...

A group of 13 voters filed a lawsuit now being heard in Denver District Court seeking a ban on the use of the machines. ... Testimony began Wednesday and will continue today.

Douglas Jones testified that a study found electronic voting machines like those approved for Colorado's elections unreliable and reprogrammed in a matter of minutes.

Jones, a University of Iowa computer science professor, said Finnish computer expert Harry Hursti found problems with the Diebold TSX machine earlier this year in Utah.

State officials have defended the machines and said they produce paper backups that can be used for recounts or audits. Diebold says its system produces fewer voting errors than other systems.

Weld stocked up with electronic voting machines and used them as the primary source for residents to cast their votes for the primary election last month.

"It was very positive with the folks who did use the machine," Moreno said. "We didn't have any glitches with the machines. There were no malfunctions."

Jones testified that the Finnish study found a computer card about the size of a credit card could be inserted into the computer to reprogram. Jones also cited a Princeton University study released last week that showed how a virus could be inserted into an electronic voting machine in a minute -- but that case involved a Diebold model that hasn't been approved in Colorado.

If it turns out that the machines will not be valid, Moreno said he thinks it's a possibility the county may resort to mail ballots. ...

"My thought is that is going to cause a train wreck," Moreno said. ...

The Associated Press contributed to this story.