Gessler takes next step toward Uniform Voting System, releases statewide RFP

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Gessler takes next step toward Uniform Voting System, releases statewide RFP

Following the passage of the Help America Vote Act in 2002, states across the country scrambled to modernize their election machines and systems. Fast forward ten years and that equipment is reaching the end of its lifespan. Since then, Colorado's 64 county clerks have used a variety of vendors and systems to provide the equipment used to cast votes, and process and tabulate votes. This disparate system has significant drawbacks. Most notably, counties cannot get cost savings that come from combined bargaining power. Since taking office, Secretary Gessler has been working to move the state to a Uniform Voting System, as concept that has proven successful in other states.

Under a uniform system, voters will cast their ballots using consistent equipment and procedures. Your voting experience will be the same if you move from one county to the next. And counties will benefit from costs savings and increased staff expertise.

Now is the time to lay the groundwork for a smooth transition to a uniform statewide system. Many counties have election equipment that was purchased more than a decade ago and is reaching the end of its lifecycle. And there have been great advancements in technology during that time. There is equipment being made today that can make voting and conducting an election easier and more efficient.

Moving the state to a uniform voting system is a huge undertaking. It requires engaging stakeholders at all levels across the state. Two important committees have been working hard to set the stage for a successful move toward a uniform system.

The Uniform Voting System Advisory Committee has been meeting since January. This group consists of county officials, secretary of state staff, and other elections experts.

In addition, the Public Participation Panel has been meeting since May. This subcommittee includes representatives of the voting public at large and some additional key stakeholders in elections policy.

These groups have reviewed and analyzed what requirements we will need for the next generation of Colorado's voting system. And with a deadline of 2014 to have new standards in place, we have taken the important step of releasing a Request for Proposal (RFP). The RFP will ask election equipment vendors to submit proposals for how their product offerings will meet the needs of Colorado voters. Counties will implement a uniform system in a phased approach, but having the specifications in place by next year will allow those counties that are ready now to begin replacing their equipment.

If you'd like to read the RFP, and learn more about important timelines for the process, please visit our website. As we have throughout this process, we will conduct the review of the RFP Responses through a transparent process handled in part through the Uniform Voting System Advisory Committee and the Uniform Voting System Public Participation Panel, with independent reviews by stakeholders at the county level as well.