Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Ada County Asks State Lawmakers to Modernize Ballot Security

Posted By on Tue, Mar 12, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Idaho lawmakers were asked to consider an update to Idaho's ballot security measures during this morning's meeting of the House State Affairs Committee.

House Bill 215, Ada County Chief Deputy Clerk Phil McGrane told the committee, would update a ballot identification procedure used at the polls.

"This is, in many ways, a small and technical bill but it has a big impact on the elections office and the poll workers out at the polls," said McGrane.

Current practice requires ballot workers to stamp ballots with a special stamp, a security measure put in place during a code review in the 1970s, according to McGrane. If passed, HB 215 would do away with ballot stamps in some counties in favor of a special ink printed on the ballot.

"If someone went out to photocopy it to proverbially 'stuff the ballot box,' the poll workers would catch it," said McGrane.

HB 215 would allow 25 Idaho counties using optical scan ballots, according to McGrane, to do away with the stamp for the new technology. He said the current stamps are too cumbersome for staff in large counties. However, the bill would allow counties relying on paper ballots to continue use of the stamps.

"If you’re Clark County, for instance, they had some 450 votes this last election," McGrane said. "They would look at all 450 votes and make sure that they had the ballot stamp."

Committee members voted unanimously to approve the motion, sending HB 215 to the full House with a "do pass" recommendation.

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