Judge faults CO officials but allows electronic machines in Nov. elections

The secretary of state violated the law by not providing minimal security standards and accepting vendors' assurances, but, little more than a month away from elections, allows machines to be used anyway.

Colorado officials have violated state law by failing to deliver minimum security standards for voting machines, a judge said, but cleared the machines for use in November anyway, saying it was too late to block them, AP reports. Denver County District Judge Lawrence A. Manzanares said the secretary of state's office had not only violated the law but also has done an "abysmal" job documenting which tests were performed on the machines. The secretary of state should not have allowed computer manufacturers to vouch for the security of their own products. He said the secretary of state's office must issue new security guidelines after the election. For now the state and counties must work closely together to keep the election under close watch.

"I want to assure the voters that the machines are safe, their votes are secure, that they need to feel confident about their vote, and I encourage them to vote in November," Secretary of State Gigi Dennis said.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs argued that the machines can be easily manipulated to switch people's votes, that state officials didn't take adequate steps to test or secure the machines, and that the state was under pressure from county clerks to approve the machines quickly. They also argued that they are not easily accessible to voters with disabilities. Lawyers for the secretary of state's office said the machines have been approved by independent laboratories endorsed by the government and were reviewed according to state law.