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.