Sunday, October 17, 2004

More problems than voter registration

NEWS RELEASE -- October 17, 2004
Contact: Al Kolwicz, Executive Director 303-494-1540

More problems than voter registration

The public has learned that Colorado’s voter registration process and its voter registration files have been spoiled due to lax voter registration standards and negligent compliance with Colorado laws. See October 13 list of questions. While major, these are not the only problems.

Besides registration, other complaints have been filed with County Clerks and Secretary of State, Donetta Davidson, and have not been resolved. For example, in Boulder County:
  1. In violation of the Colorado Constitution, voters are forced to use a non-secret ballot.
  2. New vote counting equipment does not count votes correctly.
  3. In cooperation with the Secretary, the county has silenced legally appointed political party representatives who attempted to document and disclose problems.

Election complaints have been buried in a morass of bureaucratic stalling, mumbo-jumbo, and non-response. The Boulder County examples listed above are very serious, and have gone unresolved for more than two months. No public hearing has been held.

Poll watchers are being denied access to the data needed to challenge ineligible voters, to monitor ballot security, and to verify that every vote is correctly counted. Colorado Open Records Act requests have been stalled and denied, and clerks and the Secretary are covering up problems and refusing to produce the data needed to detect them.

Also, no independent entity has the responsibility to protect the people’s right to a trustworthy election. Complaints that are filed against the clerk or the Secretary are reviewed and decided by the clerk or the Secretary. They serve as defendant, judge and jury and operate above the law.

Attorney General Ken Salazar does not protect the people’s rights. He says that his job is to protect the Secretary of State. County Attorneys say it their job to protect the county clerks. The Secretary of State covers up for county clerks and the clerks protect the Secretary of State.

The courts do not help. Judges do not like to interfere with elected officials in an independent arm of government. People detecting the problems do not have the resources to bring charges, and campaigns do not wish to appear to be cry-babies.

To salvage this election requires that officials acknowledge the problems and take immediate and aggressive action. CAMBER suggests twelve things that can be done.


To salvage the November election, several things can be done:

  1. Authorize a $100.00 bounty for each ineligible elector and each violation.
  2. Issue an order reminding election officials they’ll be held accountable for errors and fraud, and violations of the law – including violations committed by officials.
  3. Governor, Senate President, and House Speaker appoint a competent independent oversight body with authority to receive and log, publish and resolve all election complaints. Encourage submission of problems.
  4. Secretary of State issue an order prohibiting absentee ballot “duly authorized agents” from collecting absentee ballots.
  5. Do not open any provisional ballot until (a) all provisional ballot envelopes in the State have been qualified and (b) the ID of all qualified provisional voters have been entered into a statewide database, and (c) the complete list of provisional ballot voters has been searched and duplicate provisional ballot voters have been identified.
  6. Do not open any absentee ballots until after all provisional and in-person ballots have been counted. An in-person or provisional ballot must cancel an absentee ballot.
  7. Do not use any DRE voting equipment. These machines are not verifiable, cannot be recounted or challenged, and do not have the trust of those who understand the risks of voting using these machines. Print additional paper ballots to be used instead of DRE voting equipment.
  8. Do not use any vote-counting equipment that does not produce a verifiable record of votes. To verify a record of votes from a ballot requires the ability to compare each record of votes from a ballot with the original ballot. Instead, hand count votes using a standard process and form.
  9. Open all election processes to poll watchers. Encourage as much transparency as possible, short of interfering with election judges and workers. Provide up-to-date copies of computer files and access to poll books, ballot stubs, ballot controls, batch controls, absentee and provisional ballot qualification processes, and vote counting.
  10. Document and enforce strict canvassing procedures.
  11. Document and enforce strict and meaningful logic and accuracy testing procedures.
  12. Fund and authorize a full scale, independent, statewide post-election study of Colorado’s election process using the November 2004 election data, procedures, systems, and complaints.