Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Boulder County violating Colorado Open Records Act

Boulder County is working hard to prevent the Boulder County Republican party from checking the new HART InterCivic vote counting system.

The Colorado Open Records Act requires that public records be made available to the public. This protects the public from officials who would hide public information in order to cover up errors or wrongdoing.

Republicans want to access the August Primary computer files needed to verify that votes were correctly interpreted and counted.

Independently, a local computer consultant and member of Citizens for Verifiable Voting, Paul Walmsley has made repeated offers to the County Commissioners and the County Clerk, to check the new equipment using statistical sampling. The commissioners and the clerk have repeatedly refused his offer.

The Republicans made their request on September 8th and the law requires that the county comply within three days.

“The clerk has offered a series of bogus arguments to avoid compliance with our request,” said Al Kolwicz who is representing the Boulder County Republicans on election matters.

The clerk has claimed that the files are company confidential information belonging to HART InterCivic. The clerk made a similar claim in 2001 when it tried to block public access to the files stored in Diebold equipment. Diebold corporate attorneys finally agreed that the records were not Diebold proprietary information.

The clerk claims that exporting a flat file of vote records would disclose the HART table structures. The GOP says that this is not true. It is common practice to export flat files in order to protect confidential data structures.

The clerk and the Secretary of State argue that a court order is required to access “voted ballots.” But in fact the law is explicit and uses the term “voted ballots” to refer to the paper ballots marked by the voter.

Republicans do not want access to the paper ballots. They want access to the file of scanned ballot images, and the file of interpreted votes from each ballot image – to ensure that each vote is correctly interpreted.

The party today sent the clerk another (the fourth) appeal that the clerk follow the law and provide the records.