Friday, August 27, 2004


August 27, 2004

Ms. Donetta Davidson BY FAX: 303-869-4861
Secretary of State
1560 Broadway, Suite 200
Denver, CO 80202

Dear Secretary Davidson:

We need your help.

The Boulder County Republican Party, in accordance with CRS 1-10-101, legally appointed Al Kolwicz to serve as the sole Republican member of the Boulder County Canvass Board.

The Boulder County Clerk, Linda Salas, has selected and retained Republican and Democratic temporary workers that she claims are members of the canvass board.

We have reviewed the Colorado statutes and believe that the Boulder County Republicans did in fact make their appointment within the legal requirements of the law. Further, we do not find any provision of law that would authorize the Clerk to override our legal appointment, or to make additional Republican canvass board appointments.

We ask for your immediate clarification of this matter. If you find that our interpretation of the law is correct please consider this letter as a formal election complaint.


AI Kolwicz
Designated Canvass Board Member
Boulder County Republican Party

Cc: David Leeds, Chair, Boulder County Republican Party
Robert J. Corry, Jr., Esq., Law firm of Corry and Fellows, LLP

PRELIMINARY recommendations for improvement

The following recommendations are listed in no particular order, and are offered as suggestions to improve the process. They do not include recommendations by the other election officials.

  1. The computer systems used for the 2004 primary election should not be used for the general election unless they are first design-reviewed, repaired and certified.
  2. The procedures, forms, reports, and training used for the primary should not be used for the general election unless they are first repaired and tested.
  3. The ballot cast by voters must be 100% anonymous (secret). The counting system may record a unique identification number on the ballots AFTER they are marked, made secret and cast.
  4. All election records and computers must be secured before, during and after the election.
  5. The canvass board should have immediate access to the raw election records, not just a “touched up” version of the data.
  6. Election records should be made available to the canvass board in an electronic form suitable for importing into database and spreadsheet programs, and suitable for reviewing online.
  7. The canvass should convene before Election Day, not ten days after.
  8. Security procedures must be developed, tested and implemented before the November election. For example, computers were not functioning, software was loaded into the vote counting machine, and the Longmont facility was down, yet no record of these events was made available to the canvass board. Voting equipment is being operated by elections staff and by vendor personnel after the election, and there is no record of who is doing what or why. We are told that votes from the Longmont facility were transmitted by modem to the vote counting site, however, Logic and Accuracy Testers were assured that the votes were moved to the counting machine via MBB devices, and that no data communications or modems were involved.
  9. The counting system must be revised to collect and report proof that votes on ballots are correctly interpreted and counted.
  10. Forms, reports and training must be revised to use a common glossary. Currently different titles are used to identify the same thing, and near identical terms to identify different things.
  11. There is a question as to whether the HART system is legally qualified, certified and tested. There must be proof that voting systems are unmodified copies of certified systems.
  12. Logic & Accuracy testing must not use different procedures than the live election, and the testers should not be intimidated or removed for testing the system. When running the LAT, “under vote” decisions were made by people. However, during the live election, “under vote” decisions were made by the computer. This is an unacceptable change in procedure between the LAT and production work. We know of at least one class of ballot where the computer made an incorrect decision, and we do not know how many time this occurred. The LAT was blocked from testing the capability of the computer to consolidate votes from the seven stand-alone ballot scanning and interpretation computers. This is a fundamental function of the vote counting system and must be tested during the LAT.
  13. Boulder County has not conducted a professional acceptance test of the new voting system. Such a test, including both computers and all procedures, must be completed before the system is used again. The County failed to fulfill its public duty to protect the election when it used this system in production before verifying that it works.
  14. Boulder County must not deprive voters of a fair election.
  15. Federal and State laws protecting the interpretation of votes must be honored, and the computer must not be used to circumvent this obligation. A formal description of what constitutes a countable vote must be negotiated and published. Steps must be taken to minimize the number of situations where a vote will be treated differently based on who or what counted or rejected it.
  16. The election must be as open and transparent as permitted under the law.
  17. Watchers and media observers must not be barred from any election process with the exception of when the voter marks their ballot. Before this, ballots are unmarked and there is no risk of a secret ballot violation. After this, the marked ballots are anonymous, and again there is no risk of a secret ballot violation.
  18. The data needed by poll watchers, candidates, and the political parties must be provided when it is needed, not after it is approved by the Secretary of State.
  19. Judges, staff, and watcher procedures and training must be revised significantly and all personnel must be re-trained.
  20. We detected conditions that demonstrate that the voter registration system is insecure and inaccurate. It appears that the system cannot detect when a person registers to vote more than once. The system appears to lack data integrity controls – some of the records do not have an affiliation date, and this is needed for a Primary Election.
  21. The voter registration file used for the actual election is not the same as the file provided to the Republican Party, dated July 16, 2004 and identified as: “”*** PRIMARY CLOSE DATABASE ***”
  22. A formal chain of command must be published, and every person working on the election must be identified at all times by a tag that includes an easily readable number, a color code for the tasks the person is qualified and authorized to perform, and the person’s political party and name.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Board could not verify numbers of ballots cast and counted

Progress day-4

The canvass board was not provided with a count of ballots cast.

One Republican and two Democratic temporary workers and I attempted to tabulate the count of ballots cast for each of the three elections, Republican, Democratic and Libertarian.

The canvass board and the temporary workers failed to tabulate the count of ballots cast, as described below.

Number of ballots cast

Earlier attempts to determine the number of ballots cast by counting precinct sign-in slips failed. Sign-in slips do not accurately record the party affiliation and precinct of the voter.

Earlier attempts to determine the number of ballots cast by inspecting the signatures in the registration book failed. The registration book does not indicate to which party an unaffiliated voter affiliates. Further, the registration book does not indicate which ballot (REP, DEM, or LIB) the voter was issued.

Boulder County did not maintain a poll book, so there is no easy to use, verifiable source for the number of ballots cast.

  • CRS 1-1-104 (27) "Pollbook" means the list of eligible electors to whom ballots are delivered or who are permitted to enter a voting machine for the purpose of casting their votes at an election conducted under this code.
  • CRS 1-7-109 (1) The election judges shall keep a pollbook which shall contain one column headed "names of voters" and one column headed "number on ballot". The name and the number on the ballot of each eligible elector voting shall be entered successively under the appropriate headings in the pollbook.
  • CRS 1-8-108 The designated election official shall keep a list of names and precinct numbers of eligible electors applying for absentee ballots, together with the date on which each application was made, the date on which the absentee ballot was sent, and the date on which each absentee ballot was returned. If an absentee ballot is not returned or if it is rejected and not counted, that fact shall be noted on the list. The list is open to public inspection under proper regulations.

We are told that the Secretary of State waived some aspects of these laws for Boulder County.

To determine the number of ballots cast, we chose to find out for each election:

  1. How many ballots were printed?
  2. How many ballots were unused, replaced, or duplicated?
  3. How many absentee ballots were mailed to electors but not returned to the clerk?
  4. How many ballots (net) were cast by the voter, but were not qualified to be counted?

From these facts, the number of ballots cast might be calculated by the formula:

BALLOTS CAST = (1) – (2) – (3)

This formula is helpful because it is based on verifiable facts -- printed ballots, ballots that cannot have been cast, and absentee ballots that were verifiably sent and not returned to the clerk. All remaining ballots must have been cast and must now be in locked ballot boxes or rejected ballot stacks.

No printed-ballot control

There is no report that consolidates the number of ballots printed by election, precinct, and voting method. Such a compilation is needed to help verify that votes are counted in the correct places.

To make forward progress, we attempted to calculate/estimate the number of ballots printed for each party’s election, but we discovered that data was either missing, not verifiable, or not in a form that can be used for the canvass.

In addition, we discovered serious functional and security problems with the HART ballot printing system. Multiple ballots were printed with the identical serial number.

Separate logs of ballots printed are not linked together so it is not possible to determine if any are missing, and the log entries do not identify what type of ballot is printed (party, style, precinct, etc.). There is no summary report showing the number of ballots printed by type. The ballot numbering and tracking system is not secure or verifiable.

We also discovered a security problem with the administrative system. Some judges were directed to issue sample ballots when the stock of real ballots ran out. We are told that these sample ballots were duplicated and counted, but there is no provision for tracking the effect of these sample ballots on the accounting system.

In addition, the HART system does not provide a verifiable report of ballots that were withdrawn from the inventory. Some ballots that were printed for use in early voting were counted with the precinct ballots. Voters who applied to vote in the Republican Primary appear to have been given a ballot for the Democratic primary, or a ballot for a different precinct.

Apparent violation of Colorado statutes and constitution

Ballots used in the election were pre-printed in batches for use in precincts, and printed on demand for use in early voting. It is unclear if ballots were printed on demand or pre-printed in batches for absentee voting.

The ballots pre-printed in batches did not contain a removable stub, as required by statute. The quantity of ballots printed on demand cannot be reconciled, as required by statute.

  • CRS 1-5-407 (1.6) No ballot stub is required for a ballot produced on demand, so long as the quantity of ballots produced for the election can be reconciled by the ballot processing method used by the voting system. Such ballots may contain printed and distinguishing marks, so long as secrecy in voting is protected.

In addition, the use of ballots with non-removable serial numbers appears to violate Article VII, Section 8 of the Colorado Constitution. Secrecy in voting cannot be protected due to the “printed and distinguishing marks” called serial numbers.

Number of ballots counted

The number of ballots counted is printed on a report by the HART system. We were provided with an early version of the report, but never saw the final.

We know that there is a difference between the version of the report that we examined and the final version because at 2:45 PM the clerk announced that some additional ballots had been discovered, and had to be counted for the final report. I am unaware of any request for a Republican Party representative to observe the count.

Abstract of votes

There was no document identified as “abstract of votes”. A high level summary report and a more detailed report were offered as what might be the abstract of votes.

  • CRS 1-1-104 (1) "Abstract of votes cast" means a certified record of the results in each election for candidates for any office, ballot issue, or ballot question that the county clerk and recorder certified for the ballot.

The two reports do not contain the data needed to verify that votes are counted correctly.

  • Over and under votes are not reported, so it is not possible to verify that every vote is counted.
  • There is no way to verify that a counted vote has been counted for the correct candidate and in the correct precinct.
To certify the abstract of votes, data must be available to verify that every vote is counted and that every vote is counted correctly.

Republicans ask Clerk to repair damage

Ms. Linda Salas
Boulder County Clerk
1750 33rd St.Boulder, CO 80303

August 26, 2004

Dear Ms. Salas,

Today’s Colorado Daily contains the following statement:

“According to Halicki, a number of Democrat and Republican members of the canvass board signed the report, but Al Kolwicz, Republican Party appointee, refused to sign.”

As you were legally informed, the Boulder County Republican Party legally appointed Al Kolwicz as the only Republican member of the canvass board. Temporary workers selected and paid by the clerk’s office do not represent the Boulder County Republican Party and are not authorized to sign the canvass report for the Republican Party.

If you know of a legal provision that empowers you to pick your own Republican members of the canvass board, please identify this provision.

Otherwise, please take necessary steps to repair any damage that you have caused by incorrectly asserting that “a number of Republican members of the canvass board signed the report.”


Al Kolwicz
Republican Representative to the Boulder County Canvass Board

cc: Donetta Davidson, Secretary of State
Paul Danish, Boulder County Commissioners, Chair
David Leeds, Boulder County Republicans, Chair
Bill Eckert, Boulder County Republicans, Vice Chair
Robert J. Corry, Jr., Esq., Law firm of Corry and Fellows, LLP

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Republicans decline to sign

Ms. Linda Salas By FAX: (303) 413-7750
Boulder County Clerk
1750 33rd St.Boulder, CO 80303

August 25, 2004

Dear Ms. Salas,

As of the time you set for the Boulder County Canvass Board to reach a decision, 3:00 PM today, August 25, 2004, the board has not been provided with the following election data:

  1. Numbers of BALLOTS COUNTED
  2. Numbers of BALLOTS CAST
  3. Final copy of the ABSTRACT OF VOTES

Despite a sincere and rigorous effort to discover them, I do not know the final numbers of ballots counted or even a close approximation to the number of ballots cast. Since I cannot compare the two numbers I cannot “confirm that the number of ballots counted in the election does not exceed the number of ballots cast in the election.”

At 2:45 PM, I was told that a final abstract of votes would be printed, but I never saw it. Since I have not verified the final abstract of votes I cannot “certify the abstract of votes.”

Even if I had been provided the final abstract of votes at a reasonable time, I know that there are data missing from the system that I would need to certify that the votes were correctly counted.

Therefore, the Boulder County Republican Party declines to approve the Canvass.


Al Kolwicz
Republican Representative to the Boulder County Canvass Board

cc: Donetta Davidson, Secretary of State
Paul Danish, Boulder County Commissioners, Chair
David Leeds, Boulder County Republicans, Chair
Bill Eckert, Boulder County Republicans, Vice Chair
Robert J. Corry, Jr., Esq., Law firm of Corry and Fellows, LLP

Where are we, and where are we going?

CRS 1-10-101.5. Duties of the canvass board.

The canvass board shall reconcile the ballots cast in an election to confirm that the number of ballots counted in that election does not exceed the number of ballots cast in that election. The canvass board also shall certify the abstract of votes cast in any election.

Progress during day-3

Most of the temporary workers were excused after completing only a portion of the canvass.

After noon an incomplete set of absentee voting records were made available. Additional materials requested include a complete log of ballots printed and issued, a poll book containing the data required by CRS 1-8-108, and a electronic version of the poll book that can be sorted and summarized as needed for verification.

There is no precinct poll book identifying who voted and which ballot each voter was issued. This has made it impractical/impossible to verify that the correct ballot was issued to a voter. It appears that voters were issued the wrong ballot, and in some cases were issued sample ballots.

Plan for day-4

Confirming that ballots counted do not exceed ballots cast

To perform its duty, the Canvass Board must know and confirm the numbers of ballots counted and cast by party, race, method and precinct.

The number of ballots counted is reported on the abstract of votes, and might be verified by comparison with the scanned ballot reports.

The number of ballots cast can be verified using the physical materials. Each voting method has a unique method of determining and verifying the number of ballots cast, as summarized below.

Election results report totals for each political party, for each race, for each method of voting, and for each precinct. Each ballot is tracked to verify that it is not recorded for the wrong party, race, voting method, or precinct.

There are 3 political parties – Democratic, Republican, and Libertarian. There are 5 voting methods --- absentee, early, precinct, provisional, and emergency. Boulder County is divided into 229 precincts.


To calculate the number of absentee ballots cast, something like the following formula might be used:

The number of absentee ballots printed
MINUS the number of absentee ballots unused
MINUS the number of absentee ballots replaced
MINUS the number of absentee ballots duplicated
MINUS the number of absentee ballot packets not returned by the voter
MINUS the number of absentee ballot packets returned by the Post Office as undeliverable
MINUS the number of return envelopes that arrived too late to count
MINUS the number of return envelopes disqualified
MINUS the number of ballots disqualified after opening the return envelope
PLUS the number of disqualified packets that were cured and accepted


To calculate the number of precinct ballots cast, something like the following formula might be used:

The number of precinct ballots printed
MINUS the number of precinct ballots unused
MINUS the number of provisional ballots issued
MINUS the number of precinct ballots replaced
MINUS the number of precinct ballots duplicated


To calculate the number of early ballots cast, something like the following formula might be used:

Number of early ballots printed
MINUS number of early ballots unused
MINUS number of early ballots replaced
MINUS number of early ballots duplicated


To calculate the number of provisional ballots cast, something like the following formula might be used:

Number of provisional ballots issued
MINUS number of provisional ballots denied
MINUS number of provisional ballots replaced
MINUS number of provisional ballots duplicated


To calculate the number of emergency ballots cast, something like the following formula might be used:

The number of emergency ballots printed
MINUS the number of emergency ballots unused
MINUS the number of emergency ballots replaced
MINUS the number of emergency ballots duplicated

Certifying the abstract of votes cast

To certify the abstract of votes cast requires that the canvass board verify that the votes on ballots are correctly interpreted and that the votes that are interpreted are correctly counted.

One method of achieving this is to compare the hand recorded votes on a sample of ballots to computer record of votes corresponding to each sample ballot, and to independently tabulate the computer records of votes.

This canvass board has not as yet received a copy of a report titled “abstract of votes” so we are unclear as to details.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

We must move on to the rest of the canvass

Forced to take a non-support position

Some important revelations came out of day-2, see below. One thing is clear, we must move on to the other areas of the canvass, or we will run out of time and be forced to take a non-support position on the canvass.

Who has the authority to approve the canvass?

With one exception, all of the people working in the room are temporary employees of the clerk and none have been legally appointed by their political party to serve as a canvass board member.

The GOP representative, Al Kolwicz, is the only party-appointed canvass board member. Does this mean that Kolwicz alone has the authority to approve/disapprove the canvass?

We have learned what we can from the precinct canvass

We have exhausted what is to be gleaned from the examination of the precinct materials. We can conclude the following:

  • The temporary workers have not been instructed to follow a consistent auditing process. Consequently, their work-product is not uniform. This means that no scientific conclusions can be drawn from their effort. The method that my partner and I used for the first precinct on day-1 is very different from what we used for the last precinct on day-2. I am confident that what we would do on a fifth day would be even more different.

    There is no cross-team communication, so there is no group learning going on. It is as though a canvass has never been done before.

  • The procedures, training and forms used in the precinct are defective – they are error prone and do not produce a comparable result across precincts. These must be perfected before this system is ever used again.

  • There is no list of (voter, ballot number) pairs – the poll book. The poll book is needed to verify the counts of voters and ballots. Just knowing that some person was assigned some ballot from some precinct is not good enough. Only eligible voters can be issued ballots, and the ballot that they are issued must be a ballot for the precinct where they are eligible to vote. The data available do not support this verification.

  • The numbers of errors discovered during the precinct work casts doubt the accuracy of the count of voters and the ballots. The system is not suitable for use in an election where there is a small difference in vote count between the winner and the next highest vote earner. There is too much variation to support a high degree of confidence in the precinct results.

  • The nomenclature used on the various documents is ambiguous and inconsistent. For example, on the Colorado Canvass Report, the term “Ballots Cast” is used instead of “Ballots Accepted by Scanner”. This likely means that different teams have interpreted these terms differently. This will cause great confusion when we attempt to conclude the canvass.

We must move on to the rest of the canvass

At least three times today I asked the supervisor to suspend working with the precinct data, and move on to the other areas. I asked when we will begin to verify the absentee, early, provisional, and emergency voters and ballots. I also asked when we would see a copy of the abstract of votes, and when we would begin to verify that all votes are correctly counted.

I was told by the supervisor that we’d start these after we complete the precinct work. I complained that we will run out of time needed to verify these areas.

I was told privately by team members that the team has never looked at these areas in the past.

It is vital that all voting methods be vigorously verified. After all, a very sizeable percentage of votes originate from non-precinct voting sources.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Sun may never shine on new election system

REPORT: Canvass Day-1 -- August 20, 2004
Al Kolwicz, GOP member

It was very disheartening Friday to experience Boulder County’s heavy-handed methods in action. The sun may never shine on the work of this canvass board.

Colorado law requires that a canvass board be appointed to verify election results before they are made final. Republican and Democratic county parties appoint members to the board.

The board is required to verify that the number of ballots counted do not exceed the number of ballots cast and that all votes are counted correctly.

Friday’s first meeting of the canvass board was very disturbing. “The process is not open, it is being micro-managed by ill-prepared government personnel, it is being used to cover-up rather than identify defects, and it has gotten started on the wrong foot,” says Kolwicz.

Rather than starting with a system and task overview, members have been buried under a mountain of detail. It appears that there will be no attempt to professionally verify that the votes were correctly counted. This looks bad for November’s presidential election.

Process is not open - press muzzled like a dog

Investigative reporter, William Wagener, was barred from recording the canvass board meetings. Sheila Horton, an official candidate watcher, was barred from making an audio tape of the proceeding.

Jim Burrus, county press manager, told Wagener and Horton that they must not record the proceeding because it would violate Boulder County policy. When asked for a copy of the policy, Burrus said, “It is an unwritten policy”.

Obviously such a policy does not exist. On election night, Paul Aiken, a Boulder Camera photographer took photographs in the room where ballots were being processed. One of these photos was published on page 4A of the August 11th edition.

In addition, a HART InterCivic employee took many photographs in the room where ballots were being processed. The HART employee was not at all supervised.

Information kept secret - important and reasonable GOP request denied

The work of the canvass board is handicapped because the Clerk prohibits the board from resolving fundamental questions relating to the canvass.

Officials have prepared none of the documentation needed to facilitate the canvass. The Republican representative was denied his written request that agreement be reached on the following key items.

1. Rules that will govern the canvass.

2. Identification of all materials that will be available for the canvass.

3. Description of the methodology that will be used to complete the canvass.

As a consequence, a full day has passed and there are no rules, no list of materials, and no agreed-to methodology for completing the canvass. A valuable day has been lost.

Board being manipulated - time being squandered

The clerk has asserted itself to be in control of the board and has prohibited the canvass board from making independent judgments. Members are forced to look only at what the Clerk allows them to see. They work as two person teams, and not as a board. The board is not permitted to formulate their own, independent, canvassing and decision-making strategy.

The clerk has refused to provide the board with what it needs to perform its tasks. By forcing members to focus on tiny details, the board is blocked from gaining the perspective needed to perform its legal tasks.

By controlling the sequence in which election materials are reviewed, the clerk is keeping the board away from areas where uncertainty and error are most likely to exist.

Board members have not been provided with a complete inventory of materials. New material is identified by the clerk when and only if the clerk decides to disclose it.

Intimidation influencing canvass results

A uniformed sheriff’s deputy is present during the proceeding. Police have not been present in the past, and there is no explanation for police presence – but it is definitely intimidating.

Staff has seized control of the board, and use the subtle threat of the police to back them up. No statute or election rule has been presented to show that the clerk is operating within legal bounds.

In fact, since it is the clerk’s work that is being evaluated, it is highly inappropriate for the Clerk to control the board. To be accepted by the people as fair and open, the legally appointed representatives must be in charge of the canvass.

Some elections personnel are intimidating by being rude, abusive, and uncooperative. Simple requests are met with a “just sit down, shut up, and do what I tell you” response. The police presence and the absence of a video record add to the sense of threat.

There are no procedures for governing the canvass, so members do not know their rights. Staff says and does whatever they want to silence canvass board members and keep them pre-occupied.

Clerk’s personnel are not qualified

Verifying the results of a complex system is a highly sophisticated task requiring specialized knowledge and skills. It appears that none of the clerk’s personnel have been trained or have experience in these skills. They do not understand what is needed for the success of the canvass. Instead of working to identify defects, they instead are working to explain-away the defects.

The quality of the canvass is being severely compromised by the limited comprehension of the clerk’s personnel. This, coupled with the domineering posture they have assumed, will result in a violation of the charter of the board -- to verify that the number of ballots counted do not exceed the number of ballots cast and that all votes are counted correctly.


Insiders should relinquish control of the process to the legally appointed overseers.

And finally …

The conflict between the people and the Clerk is so simple. She wants to maintain control over a system that she does not fully understand. She wants to make her life easier by going through the motions of verification, but not perform the required tasks.

We, the canvass board and the watchdogs, understand the long history of why checks and balances have been built into the best practices of elections and the cost in public trust if these checks and balances are ignored.

The new systems that are being put into place all over this country have no history. The tests that are being run are ad hoc and really don’t test much at all. We are being asked to trust machines and procedures blindly.

Fair elections are too precious. We must not allow those who wish to hide the truth about our election system to silence the insightful.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Boulder County GOP supports Al Kolwicz

The Boulder County Republican Party presented a formal resolution to Clerk Linda Salas. In it the GOP demands a written explanation of why their representative was prevented from performing his duty to perform Logic & Accuracy Testing for the Party.

Click to read the Boulder Camera story Boulder County GOP supports Al Kolwicz.

The Boulder County Republican Party legally appointed Al Kolwicz to serve as the Republican representative for the Logic and Accuracy Test, and also to serve as the Republican member of the Boulder County Canvass Board.

We the Boulder County Republican Party Executive Committee hereby affirm our support for Al Kolwicz and our desire that he and only he alone continue to serve as the Republican representative on the Canvass Board and the Logic and Accuracy Test.

Furthermore, we request that Boulder County Clerk, Linda Salas, send us a precise and detailed, written, legal explanation of why our appointed representative, Al Kolwicz, was told to leave the August 5th Logic and Accuracy Test and why he was denied his rights to represent our Party. We require this explanation before August 25, 2004.

If there is no legal basis for the exclusion of Al Kolwicz, we demand a public apology to Al Kolwicz and to Boulder County Republicans.

Resolved, August 19, 2004

Boulder County Republican Party Executive Committee

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

OK to participate in Canvass Board

On Tuesday, August 17th we asked Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle,
  • "Please advise me immediately if you know of any reason that I should not perform my service on this Canvass Board that will take place this Friday in the 33rd Street location."
Sheriff Pelle promptly responded,
  • "The information I have is that you were asked to leave the building during a test and "lawful assembly"that you were believed to be disrupting. The deputy's instructions to you applied to that date and time, and that particular event. There is no permanent restriction on your participation or presence at the Clerk's Office that I am aware of, and no legal authority of a deputy sheriff to order such.

    If there were to be another incident of disruption, threats, etc., of course the County Clerk could ask you to leave again, and you could be arrested for failure to comply with that particular request.

    If the County Clerk chooses to attempt to permanently ban you from her County facility, she would be advised to seek a civil retraining order from the courts ordering such. You would be formally served with a copy and would know that it existed.

    Finally, if you were to be arrested for a criminal violation, a Judge may order a "no contact" provision to any bond, which could/would restrict you from that facility or the Clerk's staff.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Detective interviews Kolwicz

A sheriff's office detective made an unannounced visit to the home of Al Kolwicz and interviewed him from approximately 5:00 PM until 6:00 PM on Tuesday, August 17th.

Kolwicz initially thought that the visit was in response to a request sent to the Sheriff a few hours earlier. Kolwicz had asked the Sheriff to advise whether Kolwicz will be permitted to enter the county clerk's building in order to fulfill his duty on the Canvass Board.

The detective said that the interview was not related to this earlier request.

The detective said that the interview was related to charges filed by the Boulder County Attorney.

Canvass Board scheduled -- sheriff contacted

The Boulder County canvass board meeting has been set for Friday, August 20 at 8:00 AM.

The sheriff has been contacted for a release that will permit the legally appointed Republican canvass board member, Al Kolwicz, to attend. Without this release, Kolwicz is barred from entering the public building where the board will meet.

The primary election was held on August 10th, and the canvass is to be completed by August 25th.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Canvass board meeting is still not scheduled

Before election results are final, an independent board must audit them. A summary of the canvass board’s duties was published on August 12th -- “What is a canvass board?”

Boulder County has not set a time and place for canvassing work to begin. Proposed procedures and election materials have not been made available to the canvass board members. Repeated written requests for these facts have gone unanswered by the clerk.

If defects are discovered during the canvass, this late start could turn into a serious compliance problem. The canvass board is required to complete its duties by Wednesday, August 25th.

Any failure to meet the August 25th deadline will be caused by the clerk starting too late, not the board taking too long.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Caldara: Want to know how I voted? Look it up

Jon Caldara has it absolutely right, and now it is time for YOU to take action.

Please read Jon’s column.

Caldara: Want to know how I voted? Look it up,1713,BDC_2494_3109638,00.html

Then take two minutes to demand secret, accurate and verifiable elections.

Donetta Davidson
Secretary of State's Office
1560 Broadway, Suite 200
Denver, CO 80202
303 894 2200
FAX (303) 869-4861

We must STOP Boulder County from using their horrible voting system for the 2004 Presidential election.

We must not let officials force us to swallow another uncertain election like Florida 2000.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

What's a Canvass Board?

The following six snippets provide a sense of the duties and responsibilities of the canvass board.

  • certify 1. to declare (a thing) true accurate, certain, etc. by formal statement, often in writing; verify; attest 2. to declare officially insane and committable to a mental institution 3. to guarantee the quality or worth of (a check, document, etc.); vouch for 4. to issue a certificate or license to 5. (Archaic) to assure; make certain – vi. to testify (to) – SYN approve). Webster’s New World Dictionary 2nd edition 1984

  • "Abstract of votes cast" means a certified record of the results in each election for candidates for any office, ballot issue, or ballot question that the county clerk and recorder certified for the ballot. CRS 1-1-104(1).

  • Duties of the canvass board. CRS 1-10-101.5.

    The canvass board shall reconcile the ballots cast in an election to confirm that the number of ballots counted in that election does not exceed the number of ballots cast in that election.

    The canvass board also shall certify the abstract of votes cast in any election.

  • Imperfect returns - corrections. CRS 1-10-104.

    (1) If, in the course of their duties, the canvass board or the secretary of state finds that the method of making or certifying returns from any precinct, county, or district does not conform to the requirements of law, the returns shall nevertheless be canvassed if they are sufficiently explicit in showing how many votes were cast for each candidate, ballot question, or ballot issue.

    (2) If the canvass board or the secretary of state finds a clerical error or omission in the returns, the county clerk and recorder, after consultation with the election judges, shall make any correction required by the facts of the case. The election judges shall sign and submit to the canvass board any documentation required for any explanation or verification of the additions or corrections. The canvass board may adjourn from day to day for the purpose of obtaining the additions or corrections.

  • Canvass board to conduct recount. CRS 1-10.5-107.

    (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.

  • Accurate counting requires compliance with applicable law.

    HAVA says on page 41 of



    Each State shall adopt uniform and nondiscriminatory standards that define what constitutes a vote and what will be counted as a vote for each category of voting system used in the State.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Free Al Kolwicz!

Today’s Boulder Daily Camera editors have come to the support of Al Kolwicz. There is also news about yesterday’s election, including description of a protest against the use of non-secret ballots - see links below.

Boulder County officials used their police power to block Kolwicz from observing last night’s processing of the ballots. By doing so, officials denied Kolwicz his legal right to serve as a poll watcher in the clerk’s building.

Kolwicz is an official member of the board charged with the legal responsibility to reconcile the ballots cast and counted, and to certify the county clerk’s record of results. The board is called the Canvass Board.

Since he is prohibited from entering the building, Kolwicz has requested instructions from the Boulder County Clerk. Where and when will the board meet? What will be the procedures?

The Canvass Board serves as a double check. It must verify that all of the votes cast were accurately counted. Otherwise, voters can be deprived of their right to a fair election.

In one sense, the primary election process serves a trial run for the November election. The new voting system has never been used before and requires careful inspection to verify that it is secure and accurate. The intent is to discover and eliminate problems and uncertainties before November.

Free Al Kolwicz!,1713,BDC_2489_3101206,00.html

County vote-counting delayed,1713,BDC_16316_3102508,00.html

Saturday, August 07, 2004

What is Boulder County trying to hide?

There must be something terribly wrong with their new election system, and Boulder County election officials are doing everything in their power to keep it hidden from the public.

The Boulder County Republican Party was kicked out of Thursday’s official test of the new election system. Election officials insisted that the legally appointed Republican Party representative change his test decks, presumably so that the system can pass the tests. The Republican representative refused, and the clerk told him to leave.

Many voters do not follow instructions and instead of filling in the box, will use an “X” or a check mark or circle the box, or instead of using ink will use magic marker, etc. Some voters will object to voting with a ballot that is not secret, and will “white out” or cross out the serial number that uniquely identifies their ballot. In the past, some voters have written notes explaining what they meant to do. The Republican test deck was prepared to verify that these real-life situations will be correctly handled by the untested counting system.

Because of the insistence that the Republicans remove these tests, it appears that real-life ballots can cause the new voting system to fail.

The Republican representative, Al Kolwicz, had the legal authority to participate in the testing, a statutory duty to perform, and all of his actions and tests were within the law. The public needs to know why the Republicans are being harassed by county officials.

According to Kolwicz, “answers to major questions about the security, accuracy and verifiability of the HART InterCivic voting system have not been forthcoming from the Clerk. Based on what I have seen, I would definitely not trust this system”

This morning’s local newspaper describes a new approach to silencing any who question the new system. See: Election watchdog could face charges,1713,BDC_16316_3094890,00.html

It would be a very sad day for America if any citizen were to be prosecuted by government officials who appear to be biased against an open and verifiable election process.

It gets worse.

The test began on Friday July 30th and was discontinued. A scheduled restart of the test on Sunday August 1st was cancelled. No reasons have been given. It appears that the Boulder County Clerk and the Colorado Secretary of State are secretly working together. In response to an August 2nd open records request for information about why the tests of the voting system were discontinued, the Secretary of State responded that “the Secretary of State’s office does not have any information regarding the July 31 decision to discontinue the Logic and Accuracy Test”.

Salas has failed to respond to a similar open records request and has now placed the County in default of the statutory three day response requirement.

And worse.

At its August 3rd meeting, county commissioners denied a request by systems analysis consultant Paul Walmsley to verify that votes are correctly counted. The county and the vendor acknowledge that there is no way to precisely check the accuracy of vote counting with the new system.

And worse.

Elections director Tom Halicki, at the same meeting, failed to inform the commissioners that the test was discontinued, and that the new system had failed the Republican Party’s tests. Instead, Halicki misleadingly told commissioners that the Libertarian and the Democrat Parties are satisfied with the test, but failed to disclose that these tests were not yet complete and that a clerk's office insider, Deputy Clerk Nancy Jo Wurl, was serving as the official representative of both the Democrat and Libertarian parties.

And it gets even “more worse”.

Poll watcher volunteer, Ralph Shnelvar, who was authorized by Salas to observe the July 30 test, was blocked from observing the August 5th continuation of the test. Shnelvar is a Libertarian.

To view a video of the commissioners meeting go to and click August 3rd new business meeting, and then click item 14.

What is it that county and state election officials are trying to hide?

It is time for Boulder County’s political parties and elected representatives to come before the public to get at the truth. It is time to do whatever is needed to ensure an open, secure, accurate and verifiable election on August 10th.

The political parties must not approve use of the new voting system until it can be proven that the system is secure, accurate, and verifiable.

The political leaders, candidates and elected representatives must stand up, do their duty, and not let this to slide by. Too much is at risk.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Voting machine tester kicked out for refusing to submit fake tests

An official representative to Boulder County’s test of its new vote counting system, was asked by County Clerk, Linda Salas, to leave the test.

When asked what happened, Al Kolwicz said, “we submitted sample ballots to test the security and accuracy of the county’s new vote counting system. We refused to submit fake tests.”

The test ballots included tests such as – (a) what happens if a voter circles the box rather than filling in the entire box with a black pen, and (2) what happens if a voter marks over the ballot serial number in hopes that this will make the ballot secret. (Boulder County’s new ballots are not secret.)

Salas consulted with the Secretary of State, Donetta Davidson’s office, by phone. Following their private conversation, Salas asked Kolwicz to leave.

Kolwicz left immediately and went outside of the building to record some notes. Deputy P. Dunphy, who was in the room where the testing was being conducted, came out to find Kolwicz on a bench. He told Kolwicz that he was not to return to the building.

“It looks like a sham is being foist upon the public”, said Kolwicz.

"It's like taking a test drive of a high performance sports car and being restricted by the dealer to driving in a straight line for a maximum of 40 yards, and at a maximum speed of 20 mph," he added.

One must wonder, what is the Clerk hiding?

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Logic & Accuracy Test will resume tomorrow at 10 AM

The Logic & Accuracy test will be resumed tomorrow (Thursday) morning at 10 AM.

We were required to recreate our test ballots – no reason has been provided.

I sure feel uncomfortable doing this alone.

I am not sure what the rules are for observers – perhaps Ralph knows.

We have not heard anything in response to either our complaint for the use of non-secret ballots, or the Open Records Request for the reasons that the Logic and Accuracy Test was cancelled.

One new happening – I have been unable to observe the absentee ballot process. The reasons given are various – and none make any sense.

One thing that each of you can do is to get yourself appointed as a poll watcher.

Troyanne Thigpen has volunteered to keep a list. All political parties and every candidate can authorize poll watchers. Sign up. You must complete a poll watcher form, and get it signed by the candidate or Party, and take it to the County where they will approve you. Please let Troyanne know that you have done so, or plan to do so. I have a couple of blank forms.

Tomorrow we hope to find that the counting system is verifiably secure and accurate.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Clerk cancels Logic and Accuracy Tests

This morning, Open Records Requests were filed, by FAX, with the Boulder County Clerk and the Colorado Secretary of State – see below.

The statutory Logic and Accuracy Test, scheduled for Friday July 30th, was continued over until Sunday August 1st, at which time the test was again delayed until at least Thursday. Counting of votes on ballots cannot begin until the Logic and Accuracy Test is completed.


Dear Ms. Salas:

Pursuant to C.R.S. 24-72-203, also known as the Colorado Open Records Act, we request that you disclose the reasons and considerations for the July 31st decision to discontinue the Logic and Accuracy Test of the Boulder County equipment & procedures for qualifying ballots, and interpreting and counting the votes on cast ballots.

We are particularly interested to learn the details of any suspected or real defects in the equipment & procedures, and what is being done to address any suspected or real defects.

This request is to comprehensively include all Boulder County departments including the County Clerk's office, the County Attorney's office, Purchasing, and Data Processing.

Under C.R.S. 24-72-203(3), if such records are not in your control, you must make a written request to the custodian(s) of such records for inspection and review, at an hour certain, within three working days of this request.

We request that there be no charges to us that are not approved in advance by me.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.


AI Kolwicz
Designated Election Officer