Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Resolve voting system differences, first.

In response to Boulder County Clerk Linda Salas’s invitation, more than 200 people filed written objections to her plan for a new voting system. Her plan was disclosed in a draft Request for Proposal (RFP). It includes the elimination of traditional precinct voting and introduction of unverifiable digital ballots.

Hopes were dashed that the overwhelming rejection of her plan would cause Salas to meet with the public and work out differences.

On January 10th, a small delegation of people went to the Boulder County Clerk’s office to participate in a 9:00 AM Pre-Proposal Conference. Although the draft RFP specified the time and date of the meeting, there was no such meeting.

It appears that Ms. Salas intends to publish the contentious RFP with no public meeting, and no resolution of the fundamental issues dividing the public and the clerk’s office.

According to Al Kolwicz, executive director of CAMBER, "Ms. Salas may indeed have the authority to do this. However, it would be very unwise to do so.

  1. It would insult those who spent hours responding to the clerk’s invitation to comment.
  2. It would alienate those members of the public who are rightfully concerned about the trustworthiness of the Boulder County election system.
  3. It would provide ammunition to those who believe that the clerk’s office is out of step with the community.
  4. The public’s requirements need to be addressed before an RFP is released. The differences between what the public wants and what the clerk wants cannot be resolved after the equipment is purchased.
  5. This community has already suffered through the problem created when RFP requirements conflict with public requirements. In 2003 Ms. Salas failed to bring the public into the RFP process until after she had developed and released a secret RFP. That RFP was also incomplete and incompatible with what the public wanted.

We encourage Ms. Salas to meet with the public and resolve differences -- before the RFP is released."