Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Clerk interferes with election


Release: October 17, 2004
Contact: Al Kolwicz, Election Representative 303-494-1540

Clerk interferes with election

Just before the August primary, Boulder County Republicans (BCR) were prevented from using real-life test ballots to test the county’s new vote counting system. Since then, BCR has tried to work out a plan with Clerk & Recorder, Linda Salas, so that similar problems will not interfere with the November election.

It appears that there will be no such agreement. On October 9th, Salas issued a directive to the political parties which, according to the Republicans, violates and oversteps the law, and prohibits a meaningful test of the counting system. On October 10th, the BCR challenged the directive.

According to Al Kolwicz, the official Republican representative for 2004 elections, “Salas has not provided the data needed to conduct the logic & accuracy test, and has not responded to BCR’s October 10th challenges of her directive.”

Logic & accuracy tests are supposed to prove that votes are counted according to the law. Salas has refused to provide a specification of what constitutes a vote that will be counted. Federal and State laws attempt to make sure that the voter’s intent is honored when votes are interpreted, and that votes are interpreted consistently. Without a written guideline, or specification, a vote might be counted on Monday, but rejected on Tuesday – counted in the original count, but rejected in a recount.

Salas has refused to permit BCR to verify that the votes on a particular ballot are interpreted and counted correctly. “One might call this”, says Kolwicz, “a things will average out philosophy.” This is not what the law requires. Each and every vote must be interpreted and counted correctly.

The clerk has decreed that the political parties must provide two persons to work on the logic and accuracy test. The law does not require this, and the clerk has not answered BCR’s question as to why two persons are required. Could it be that the Salas is trying to neutralize Kolwicz?

Salas has decreed that the ballots must be developed and marked at the clerk’s office, without the use of any computer assistance. BCR testers use computer software to design and check out their test cases.

The clerk has decreed that there will be only 25 test ballots per political party. Considering that there are 228 precincts, ____ ballot styles, and five ways to vote, the 25 ballot limitation makes a hoax out of the logic & accuracy test.

“More to the point,” says Kolwicz, “the clerk’s decrees are not legal. She is interfering with the legal rights of the political parties to verify that the vote counting system correctly interprets and counts every vote.

The two representatives from the parties, and the jurisdiction representatives, will meet in the Election’s office on October 20th at 10:00 a.m. Each party and jurisdiction will be presented with 25 ballots, which they will be required to vote on-site.

Members of the general public will not be allowed into the room where the test decks are being scanned. Only properly designated members of the political parties and the local jurisdictions will be allowed to attend.

Strict reading of the clerk’s directive suggests that poll watchers, the press, and video recorders will be prohibited from observing the test preparation.

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