Boulder County’s Canvass Board arrived at a split decision regarding approval of the canvass of election results. The board’s report is attached.
Now, according to the Colorado Daily, Boulder County will conduct a recount in the St. Vrain School District contest.
The official Republican canvass board member submitted a letter to County Clerk Linda Salas asking her to verify that there will be a recount, and under what rules the recount will be conducted.
The news story suggests that the clerk is proceeding with a secret recount conducted by the administration and the vendor. This does not follow Colorado law which says that the recount will be “made by the canvass board who officiated in certifying the official abstract of votes cast.”
Also, specific provisions are written into the election rules for the equipment used by Boulder County. The news story suggests that there will be an attempt to violate these rules. For example, 14.8.3 (b) says, “Scan and resolve all recount ballots following original election procedures, including the examination of ballots (Rule 14.3; C.R.S. 1-10.5-108). Use the Audit Trail Report and original Scan Batch Reports with notes to ensure resolution action follows original resolution.” Whereas the news story quotes Jim Burrus as saying, “People from Hart will be here to set up that process so we can auto-resolve any damaged ballots that slowed us down before." While we disagree with the rule, we disagree even more with a violation of the written rules.
This recount is very important. It opens an opportunity to determine how precisely the ballots are being counted by Boulder County’s vote counting system. About ½ of one percent of all of the ballots voted in precinct were not correctly accounted for. Where did these ballots go, or come from? What happens in a recount when it is discovered that the equipment or the resolution board incorrectly interpreted the voter’s intent?
The rules are contradictory. On the one hand they say, “review the ballots to assure they were counted properly.” On the other they say, “ensure resolution action follows original resolution.” You cannot have it both ways.
We are awaiting a response to the Friday morning inquiry.
Citizens for Accurate Mail Ballot Election Results
Sent: Friday, November 19, 2004 11:19 AM
Subject: Will there be a recount? If so, under what rules?
I have read that there may be a required recount of St. Vrain.
Is this true?
If true, will the recount be conducted according to the following statute and rules?
C.R.S. 1-10.5-107. Canvass board to conduct recount.
Election Rules: 14.8 Counting of Ballots using the “Ballot Now” Voting System
Canvass Board Member
Boulder County Republican Party
Nov 19, 2004
County readies for recount
By RICHARD VALENTY Colorado Daily Staff Writer
The Boulder County elections team completed one long, arduous election process Thursday when they sent certified results from about 160,000 ballots to the Colorado Secretary of State.
But it's back to work again Friday and next week to begin conducting Boulder County's part of a multi-county recount.
As of Wednesday, the St. Vrain School District Ballot Issue 3A tax increase proposal was trailing by 127 votes out of more than 60,000 ballots cast. Recounts can be requested if ballot issue results are closer than a 0.5 percent difference, and St. Vrain has requested a recount.
The St. Vrain district lies within parts of Boulder, Broomfield, Weld and Larimer counties, and Boulder County counted roughly 47,000 ballots with the St. Vrain issue included.
Jim Burrus, county media information officer, said the county will begin the process by locating the boxes containing paper ballots from precincts in the St. Vrain district.
"They haven't gone through and segregated the boxes yet, but they'll probably start on that tomorrow (Friday) or Monday," said Burrus.
The recount must be completed by Dec. 10, and Burrus said representatives from election system vendor Hart InterCivic will work with Boulder County to make sure the recount is done well before deadline.
County officials said the Nov. 2 general election results were released several days later than most other Colorado counties in part because some of the paper ballots were improperly printed. County high-speed scanners could not read the ballots properly, and county officials needed to individually resolve the improper ballots, slowing the process down dramatically.
Burrus said the county will be using the same ballots and the same scanners used for the general election during the recount, but will only be evaluating one question instead of the entire general election list of candidates and referenda.
"People from Hart will be here to set up that process so we can auto-resolve any damaged ballots that slowed us down before," said Burrus. "The only thing we'll need to look at is the St. Vrain question."
Meanwhile, county officials and Hart are working together to complete additional data from the general election. Burrus said Elections Manager Tom Halicki was working Thursday on compiling payroll information for some 150 people who worked on processing election results, not including precinct election judges.
Also, Burrus said Hart employees will be working on a report detailing the status of damaged ballots or ballots containing overvotes and undervotes. He said the report would contain information on how the questionable ballots were resolved, and said results could be available in "a week or two."
C.R.S. 1-10.5-107. Canvass board to conduct recount.
(1) Any county clerk and recorder or governing body required to conduct a recount shall arrange to have the recount made by the canvass board who officiated in certifying the official abstract of votes cast. If any member of the canvass board cannot participate in the recount, another person shall be appointed in the manner provided by law for appointment of the members of the original board.
(2) Any canvass board making a recount under the provisions of this section may employ assistants and clerks as necessary for the conduct of the recount.
(3) The canvass board may require the production of any documentary evidence regarding any vote cast or counted and may correct the abstract of votes cast in accordance with its findings based on the evidence presented.
(4) At the conclusion of the recount, the canvass board shall make the returns of all partisan, nonpartisan, ballot issue, and ballot question elections to the designated election official and provide a copy to the persons or groups requesting the recount or notified of the recount pursuant to sections 1-10.5-105 and 1-10.5-106. The canvass board shall meet and issue an amended abstract of votes cast for the office, ballot issue, or ballot question that is the subject of the recount and deliver it to the designated election official.
(5) The designated election official shall notify the governing body of the results of the recount.
http://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/rule_making/electionrules.pdf PAGE 30
14.8 Counting of Ballots using the “Ballot Now” Voting System
14.8.1 In the case of a recount, the designated election official shall identify all precincts with the contest(s) designated for a recount using the following procedures:
a. Using the Ballot Now Scanned Ballots by Precinct report from the original election database, locate the batches containing any ballot type (Election, Absentee, and Provisional) for the recount.
b. Remove ballots from each batch and label them as “Recount”.
14.8.2 Required scanner testing shall be performed using a test deck from a randomly chosen precinct with at least 50 ballots as prescribed by statute, following testing procedures outlined in the State of Colorado Procedures for the use of the Ballot Now Voting System. A Recount Test spreadsheet shall be created based on the chosen precinct in the same fashion as the ballot options test spreadsheet.
14.8.3 Ballots for the recount shall be processed following the State of Colorado Procedures for the use of the Ballot Now Voting System in conjunction with the following procedures:
a. Open Ballot Now with an unused MBB (Mobile Ballot Box) from the election and create a Ballot Now recount database;
b. Scan and resolve all recount ballots following original election procedures, including the examination of ballots (Rule 14.3; C.R.S. 1-10.5-108). Use the Audit Trail Report and original Scan Batch Reports with notes to ensure resolution action follows original resolution.
c. Save all recount CVRs (Cast Vote Records) to the MBB (Mobile Ballot Box) after verifying that the number of ballots processed matches the number of ballots cast in the recount contest(s).
d. Open a new recount election in “Tally” and process the recount MBB following the tabulation procedures above.
e. Compare recount results to original results and document any differences.
f. Backup the test database and the official recount database following the “Archive” procedures.
14.3 The purpose of a recount is to review the ballots to assure they were counted properly. Unless directed otherwise by the Secretary of State, all procedures of election night shall be followed as closely as possible during the recount, including an examination of the ballots.
C.R.S. 1-10.5-108. Method of recount.
(1) The recount shall be of the ballots cast, and the votes shall be recorded on sheets other than those used at the election.
(2) Unless otherwise directed by the secretary of state, the ballots cast shall be recounted utilizing the same procedures, methods, and processes that were utilized for the original count of the ballots cast.