Heller objects to challenges over voting machines
The battle between Secretary of State Dean Heller and Carson City Clerk Alan Glover over electronic voting machines boiled over Wednesday.
Heller has said the new machines won’t be used except in Clark County unless they can produce a paper printout allowing voters to see who they voted for. Clark gets to use them because it already uses the Sequoia machines.
Glover has said he doesn’t think the printouts are so important that 16 counties should be prevented from using them if they can’t be installed and certified by Election Day.
He said delays in getting printing units certified will cause serious problems for the county clerks who conduct the September primary and November general elections.
The dispute got personal Wednesday morning as Heller approached Glover and angrily told him he was mad about Glover’s statements in a newspaper story. The two argued heatedly outside Carson City Hall in front of several city employees. Both men confirmed the story.
Heller followed up with a press release saying he sent a strong letter to members of Congress who have lobbied to ignore the call for a paper printout. The release blasted Glover for his comments.
“I guess I’m having a tough time with the rationalization some election officials, especially Mr. Glover, are using to determine that the very people they work for – the citizens of Nevada — are wrong to ask for a paper trail,” he said. “Clearly a large segment of voters disagree with his assertions based on the town hall meetings, e-mails and phone calls my office received before and after making the decision to demand a printer be a component of every new Direct Recording Electronic voting machine this state purchases.”
The state earlier this week signed the contract to purchase $9.3 million worth of the machines from Sequoia Voting Systems. But Heller has said the new machines won’t be used statewide without the printout attachments.
Glover argued Heller should relent on the demand because they may not be able to get the printer units certified in time for this year’s elections.
“As clerks we do not want to have a part of the voting system that is not certified and I don’t think that the paper trail can be certified because there are no standards to test against,” Glover said.
He also said many voters don’t understand they don’t get to keep the paper printout. Federal election law prohibits voters from getting a grocery-store style receipt that says how they voted.
The law is intended to prevent anyone from paying voters who could prove they backed a certain candidate.
“Dean has used the term ‘voter receipt.’ That is not an accurate term,” said Glover. “You get to see in printing what is on the screen, but you can’t have it.”
As president of the state Association of Clerks and Recorders, Glover said adding something that hasn’t been federally certified to the voting machines could raise legal issues with the election.
He said the contract states Sequoia doesn’t have to deliver the printer units until August, and it will take time to install and test each one.
“By August, election people are working seven days a week at least 10 hours a day,” he said. “I’m not sure he has an appreciation for that.”
Glover said it makes more sense to use the machines, even if they don’t have printers. He said Clark County will be using them without printers attached.
“Let’s use them,” he said. “Then, as soon as they’re tested and certified and we can make some provisions in statute for them, we can attach them and use them.”
Heller was adamant that, without the printers, no touch screen machines will be used, except in Clark County.