Monday, October 30, 2006

John Fund on Absentee Voting

Today's Online Wall Street Journal includes a piece by John Fund entitled, "Absent Without Leave"

It, along with a number of related articles, documents what is happening with absentee voting.

John Fund is the author of "Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy"

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Republicans file complaint against Boulder County Officials

Violation of election code - interference with Canvass Board

The Boulder County Republican Party has filed a complaint with the Colorado Secretary of State alleging apparent violation of the election code and interference with the legally appointed Canvass Board.

Click to read the complaint which alleges that Boulder County Officials:

1. Did not conduct the required Logic & Accuracy Test.
2. Did not record in the pollbook whether each voter used a paper or electronic ballot.
3. Denied the Canvass Board access to General Eleciton materials.
4. Denied the Canvass Board access to Primary Election materials.
5. Refuse to conduct public business in public.
The Boulder County Board of Canvassers is responsible for verifying the post election audit (random audit) and the election results, and for conducting any recounts.

The board has three members:

Deb Gardner, Democratic Party Representative
Al Kolwicz, Republican Party Representative
Nancy Jo Wurl, Clerk & Recorder Representative
The board must complete its work on the 2006 General Election on November 24th, unless there is a recount in which case the recount must be completed on December 1st.

To facilitate public oversight the board will conduct its business online, where the public, candidates, and the press can watch what is happening.

1. Whenever you like, you can link to the site to see what is happening. Simply go to

2. In addition, if you wish, you can choose to have the system automatically send a message to your inbox when the site has new material. You can choose between real time updates or a daily message summary. Simply press the "JOIN" button when you are on the site. (Joining the site does not authorize you to submit unmoderated messages to the group.)
By conducting the 2006 general election canvass in public the Canvass Board hopes to increase public awareness of the process and to increase voter confidence in election results.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Manipulating the facts

The articles “More voters using absentee ballots” and “Cost to vote is increasing” are great illustrations of government propaganda.

Boulder County has done everything it can do to get people to vote by absentee ballot. Why?

1. Staff hopes to reduce the Election Day workload on the poorly designed HART ballot scanning equipment, and
2. Staff hopes to reduce long lines at Early and Election Day polling places.
What harm is done by encouraging people to vote by absentee ballot? Absentee ballots are not secure and they result in disenfranchised voters

1. Not every absentee ballot gets counted.
2. Absentee ballots get lost and stolen and can be switched.
3. Eligible voter’s ballots get rejected by staff.
4. Ineligible people get to vote, hence eligible votes get cancelled.
On a practical side, absentee ballots cost more and take much longer to process than in-person paper ballots.

Staff knows that informed voters study the candidates and issues before they come to the polling place. Most come prepared with a checklist of their votes. Instead of educating voters to come to the polls prepared, staff promotes the myth of the unprepared voter. This encourages voters to come to the polls unprepared.

And don’t be comforted by staff claims that the Logic and Accuracy Tests and the Post Election Audit will catch any problems. This is an irresponsible and absolutely untrue claim.

Why has Boulder County hired a person to promote the insecure, inaccurate, and expensive absentee ballot? Because for staff, elections are all about staff convenience and making staff look good.

What is our advice to voters?

(1) Always use a paper ballot (not a paper receipt).
(2) Personally cast your anonymous ballot into the ballot box.
(3) Don’t vote absentee or provisional ballots unless there is absolutely no alternative. (These ballots must be placed into a sealed envelop, and risk being not counted.)
(4) Never use voting equipment that records your votes electronically, even if the equipment also prints your votes on a paper receipt. (The votes on the electronic record decide the election, not the ones on the paper receipt.)

Al Kolwicz

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

CAMBER challenges Colorado SOS candidates to start planning immediately

Following Friday's judicial order that Colorado clean up voting equipment standards and recertify all voting equipment for the 2008 elections, a challenge was issued to Colorado's Secretary of State candidates Mike Coffman [R] and Ken Gordon [D].

Coffman and Gordon were challenged to cooperatively or individually appoint a person or persons to begin work immediately on a plan to comply with Judge Manzanares' orders. The challenge was issued by Colorado's leading voter-advocate group, Citizens for Accurate Mail Ballot Election Results, CAMBER.

Either Coffman or Gordon will be Colorado's next Secretary of State. "If they wait until election results are decided and they take office before they begin development of a compliance plan, it is highly unlikely that the 2008 elections will be improved. There just won't be enough time", said Al Kolwicz, Executive Director of CAMBER.

CAMBER warned the Secretary of State, the Legislature, and the Governor of the impeding problem back in 2004, when Colorado adopted HB04-1227. The bill was enacted, and resulted in most of the problems heard by the court in last weeks trial.

To read CAMBER's challenge to the candidates, and a description of their suggested approach, go to

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

PRESS RELEASE: Will the Court decertify Colorado's electronic voting equipment?

September 19, 2006

Will the Court decertify Colorado's electronic voting equipment? If so, election officials will need to develop an alternative for November’s elections.

It is widely suspected that Colorado’s voting equipment certification process is flawed. Equipment vendors are not being held to the same standard, and none of the electronic voting equipment certified for use in Colorado meets the requirement for anonymous ballots, paper audit trail, and the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements of the Help America Vote Act.

Experience with the equipment during the recent Primary Election seems to support the notion that it is not feasible to verify that votes recorded and counted on this equipment are secure, and accurately interpreted and counted.

Judge Manzanares will preside and rule on the matter. The hearing begins at 8:30 AM on Wednesday, Sept. 20 and continues on Sept. 21 in Courtroom 1 which is on the second floor of the Denver City and County Bldg.

Two of the leading voting machine experts are scheduled to testify on Wednesday – Doug Jones from the University of Iowa and Dan Wallach from Rice. In addition, the person responsible for certifying voting equipment, John Gardner, is to testify.

If the Court decides that the equipment must be decertified, the Secretary of State may have the authority to authorize “temporary use” of the decertified equipment for the November election.

The judge could forbid the Secretary of State from using electronic ballots but authorize her to use the equipment to prepare paper ballots for disabled voters. The votes on these paper ballots would be hand counted.

This case has attracted national attention.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Clarification requested on HART equipment certification

From: Al Kolwicz
Sent: Monday, September 18, 2006 11:28 AM
To: Gigi Dennis (
Cc: Canvass Board Group (; Mike Coffman (; Ken Gordon (; Dean Schooler
Subject: Clarification requested on HART equipment certification

Dear Ms. Dennis.

Your office has certified that the HART InterCivic paper ballot system works with or without ballot stubs, and with or without non-removable unique ballot identifiers (serial numbers in the form of bar codes and/or printed digits).

Boulder County says that they cannot use ballots without permanent unique identifiers because the HART system does not support them, and the Secretary of State does not require them. Boulder County maintains that the HART system does not work without permanent unique identifiers. (1) They say that the HART optical scanning system requires that multi-page paper ballots must be read sequentially (all pages of a single voter’s ballot read before the next voter’s ballot). (2) They say that without a non-removable identifier, it is not possible to arrange each ballot’s ballot pages into sets. Further, Boulder County says that a non-removable identifier is required to locate a ballot in a batch (for duplication purposes, for example).

If what Boulder County says is true, the HART system contains defects that should have been detected by your certification testing. Both of the defects identified by Boulder County (above) should have been repaired before the system was certified. Defect #1 should be repaired by eliminating the requirement that ballot pages be organized into sets. This is an undesirable requirement that serves no valid purpose. Would the HART system VOID an entire multi-page ballot if one of the pages is missing? If so, under what authority? Defect #2 should be eliminated by requiring that every anonymous ballot page be endorsed, after it has been cast by the voter and before the scanned image is recorded, with a unique identifier containing the following: Batch-ID, Item-number within the batch, Date-processed, Time-processed, Machine-ID.

On the other hand, if Boulder County is not true, then you have found a way to use the HART system that does not require non-removable unique ballot identifiers.

We would like you to confirm, did you certify that the HART optical scan system does in fact work when the ballot identifiers are recorded on stubs which are removed before the ballot is cast? If so, will you please explain to Boulder County how this is done? If not, will you please retract your certification of this feature?

Thank you.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

FALSE IMPRESSIONS -- Suit: Ban computer voting

Subject: Re: FALSE IMPRESSIONS -- PRESS 09152006 Suit: Ban computer voting

In addition to what Al Kolwicz says, all of which I agree with, it is doubtful that the DRE machines anywhere have actually been successfully tested in an election scale event. The reason this is basically impossible is that there is no way to accurately test vote tens of thousands of votes into a collection of DREs... short of possibly using a bunch of robots to do it, and even that might have accuracy problems. Any county which has honestly attempted to conduct a LAT on the DREs must be aware of this.

The potential for error in the DRE election tabulations is not a trivial consideration. It is not impossible that there are bugs within the software which compile the votes from the various DREs into larger tabulations (such as the JBC in the case of the Hart system) which could by tabulation register rollover or similar accidental faults modify the results in a particular range of count, for example. Unless the election scale tests are performed, we would not necessarily know about such faults which could be unintended or otherwise.

It would be possible to have an election scale test in which the VVPATs are counted and compared to the election tabulation. This should most certainly be done, and I suspect it has never been done on any realistic scale with any DRE system. To avoid human error in the counting of paper ballots, it is unquestionably an advantage to sort before counting. For this purpose it would be necessary to cut the individual VVPATs from their sequential positions on the paper roll. Of course, we all are depending on the possibility of this full scale hand recount being done for the safety of all our elections, but I doubt if anyone has demonstrated how to do it successfully in an election scale with real VVPATs.

On the other hand with paper ballots it is possible to sort and count and recount test paper ballots until a group of human counters are certain about and agree in spite of partisan differences to the expected result. And this group of test ballots can be entered into the counting machines as many times as necessary to gain confidence that they always produce the same result (or fail to do so). Paper ballots provide an entirely different and more testable situation, although again, it is doubtful that proper testing has been done in the actual ITA or state certification tests, including ballots incorporating questionable voter intent.

Ocasionally there may have been a hand recount of a given race in a real election, but the results of this recount are rarely if ever compared against the machine count with the intention of reconciling the differences to improve the machine accuracy. In almost every case, such a comparison is made with the expectation of improving the human count accuracy. Election failures are not collected into a single repository for the purposes of learning how to improve our voting process or even which devices are more prone to failure. Each county learns these things on their own, or fails to do so.

The effect of whatever causes questionable voter intent on a paper ballot has the very different and troubling result of a false impression of certainty on the DRE. This is not a technical advantage of the DRE, this is an irreparable fault of the DRE. The DRE unavoidably hides the condition that the voter either has difficulty voting, or is uncertain about the choice for some reason perhaps intentional. Apparently we are no longer concerned about the mechanization of society, so there seem to be few people arguing the need for humanistic interfaces nowadays, unfortunately. Many nations still vote entirely on paper and use human counting and still do this without difficulty.

It is time for us to be realistic about the need for and the lack of testing of our voting machines. The salient issue is not only securing our machines against fraud. The additional security may have the unfortunate side effect of a preventing public oversight of our election processes and this could actually lead to additional potential for fraud or accidental error.

Also it is critical that our post election audits actually perform an audit at a sufficient level of accuracy, and that they consist of an actual audit, not a recount retest. This will require some careful planning and may require the hand counting of more than the prescribed number of ballots as it is crucial to count to a number which is a real subtotal in the real election results. The accuracies resulting from the 2005 habit of recounting 100 ballots are embarrassingly low. In 2006 in most counties more than 100 ballots were counted in the audit, but this number should consist of at least several percent of the ballots in the election. Then the county should be prepared to hand count all the VVPAT and paper ballots in case a reported race result comes too close for the accuracy of the statutory tests (LAT or post-election audit). We should always have a paper ballot hand count in each close election.

Following these guidelines, in addition to making sure that all voters are aware of the significance of what is printed on the VVPAT, would give us a reason to trust our voting machines' results. Then there is also the process of determining whom is allowed to cast a vote to consider (elsewhere).

Harvie Branscomb
Chair, Eagle County Democrats
Member, Eagle County Canvass Board


A Rocky Mountain News story, Suit: Ban computer voting, reports that Colorado Deputy Attorney General Maurice Knaizer says that Colorado is protected against tampering because state law now requires a printout of each computer ballot. And that, the printout can be reviewed by the voter and is kept at the machine for post-election audits and recounts.

This is a false assurance.

1. Electronic voting machines were justified and forced upon the public primarily on their supposed ability to offer disabled voters the opportunity to vote in private. The technology chosen by the Secretary of State cannot be used by blind voters to verify that their votes are correctly recorded. Other technology, such as the AutoMark can. The Secretary of State has forbidden use of the AutoMark.

2. The post-election audit procedure defined by the Secretary of State does not work. It is statistically meaningless. It cannot detect inaccurate or fraudulent votes within a predetermined level of accuracy. (It cannot be used to predict, for example, “For the Governor of Colorado Contest, it is 99.95 percent certain that there are less than 2 incorrect votes per 10,000 votes recorded.)

3. The printout created at the time a voter casts their ballot does not protect voters. The printout could potentially be used to conduct a full manual recount to catch inaccurate or fraudulent vote counting, but this will almost never happen. Because the printout is on a continuous roll, like a cash register tape, it is extremely difficult and very expensive to accurately hand count the votes. Consequently, the Secretary of State rarely authorizes a recount, clerks try to block recounts, and candidates almost always find it too expensive to pay for them.
The continued assurance by government officials that the paper printout protects Colorado voters from inaccurate and fraudulent vote counting is nothing more than a reckless attempt to deceive voters into believing that their votes are secure when in fact they are not.

Officials making this statement must be held accountable for their reckless claim.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

End of secret ballot?

As predicted, Colorado's Secretary of State, Gigi Dennis, has used her extraordinary power to silence her critics. Is this the end of the secret ballot?

Voting equipment certified by Colorado does not comply with the law. It does not permit blind voters to verify their votes, and it requires voters to use ballots that are marked in a way that makes them not anonymous.

Dennis refuses to enforce the law and does not want to hear any more about it. In her response to critics, Dennis says that she, and she alone is the final arbiter on this matter and refuses to discuss the matter further.

Click to read:

HAVA Complaint and Public Hearing Notice
HAVA Complaint Determination - Amended 7/24/06
Kolwicz Rejects Complaint Determination
8-point Alternative Plan

For a copy of the Secretary of State's July 24th letter send a message to with the subject line SILENCE THE PUBLIC.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Key government document altered

Denver, CO -- Somebody altered an official government document, and the Secretary of State is being very quiet about it.

The altered document is the Certificate of Approval for Voting System Use for the Hart InterCivic voting system. A copy resides on the Secretary of State website, and it authorizes Colorado counties to use the Hart voting system.

The certificate was issued on February 28, 2006 after what the state describes as extensive testing of the Hart voting system.

Because of concerns regarding secret ballots, the certificate was issued with a restriction. The use of serial numbers on paper ballots is forbidden.

“Therefore, the aforementioned components of System 6.0 are hereby certified for use in the State of Colorado, with the condition that the optional feature for putting a readable serial number on the physical paper ballot will not be used by counties in Colorado.”
The alteration deletes the restriction that safeguards secret ballots; it now says,

“Therefore, the aforementioned components of System 6.0 are hereby certified for use in the State of Colorado.”
As soon as the alteration was discovered, CAMBER notified the Secretary of State and asked for an explanation.

“We can find no evidence that the Hart system was re-certified or re-tested,” says Al Kolwicz, Executive Director of CAMBER.

For the Secretary of State to change the system, Hart would have had apply for certification, and the certification tests would have had to be re-run to verify that the revised system meets all functional requirements, including the secret ballot requirement .

“Serial numbered ballots are definitely not anonymous.” says Kolwicz. “A voter can identify their own ballot; an absentee ballot control system can maintain a log of which voter was issued which ballot; a ballot-on-demand system can maintain a log of which voter was issued which ballot; and provisional ballots are easily associated with their voter.”

# # #

Friday, June 23, 2006

Elections coordinator reveals defect in Hart vote counting system.

Election coordinator, Josh Liss, today revealed that the Hart vote counting equipment does not perform according to its specifications - see Colorado Daily, June 23. This is the reason that the Clerk wants to use non-secret ballots. Liss asked CAMBER to help the county to go forward with non-secret ballots.

CAMBER rejects the county's solution, and offers to help solve Hart's problem in a way that protects the secret ballot.

One must ask, why has this this clerk been working so hard to protect the equipment supplier rather than working to protect the people?

Colorado Daily reports that Salas intends to choose non-secret ballot option.

Boulder County Clerk, Linda Salas, and Hart InterCivic are working to crush people's right to vote by secret ballot.

The Boulder County Republicans and Dean Schooler are among those leading the fight to protect this basic right.

Boulder County election officials are out of control.

• They are abusing the power of their office to sacrifice basic voter rights.

• They are fixated on doing what is most convenient for themselves rather than what is necessary for a trustworthy election.

• They are working to cover up design and implementation deficiencies with the county's election procedures and the Hart vote counting equipment.
Clerk Salas is a candidate in the upcoming primary election. If ballots include a unique identifier, Salas can see how YOU voted. This potential for intimidation must be stopped.

CAMBER believes that there is still time to act, today. Get the Democratic Party to join the effort, and plead with the Secretary of State to protect secret ballots.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Boulder County clerk is deciding between secret and non-secret voting.

Hart InterCivic has submitted a proposal to print ballots for the 2006 primary and general elections. Serial numbers and bar codes that uniquely identify the ballot would be printed on a perforated, removable stub, as required by Article 5 of the election code.

To keep votes secret, the stub will be removed just before the voter casts their ballot.

Clerk Linda Salas is thinking about not allowing the perforated ballots. Instead, she prefers the non-anonymous ballots that were dragged into court last year. She says that this would reduce the cost of the ballots by $3,500.00.

We say keep the secret ballot. Why take chances with voter privacy, voter intimidation, and fraud?

Let the clerk and the secretary of state know that people want secret ballots.

Keep secret ballots.

Linda Salas
Boulder County Clerk & Recorder
1750 33rd St.
Boulder, CO 80301
(303) 413-7700

Gigi Dennis
Colorado Secretary of State
1700 Broadway, Suite 250
Denver, Colorado 80290
(303) 860-6900

Monday, June 19, 2006

Records refused. Meeting oversight refused. 8-point alternative to eSlate offered.

The Secretary of State wrote a June 16th denial of our June 13th request for records and has refused to permit us to observe the meetings that will determine the outcome of our HAVA complaint. We believe that these are violations of the Colorado Open Records Act and the Sunshine laws.

To not decertify the eSlate would be a mockery of the law.

Anticipating a whitewash, after observing the foot-dragging in the Secretary of State’s office, this morning we submitted our 8-point alternative to the widespread use of non-compliant DRE voting equipment for the 2006 primary election.

Given the no-win position that government officials have placed us in, we believe that the 8-point alternative best meets the needs of the people and the spirit of federal and state election laws.

Please ask Secretary of State Dennis to adopt our workable 8-point alternative.

Gigi Dennis
Voice (303) 860-6900
Fax (303) 869-4860

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

CAMBER uses Colorado Open Records Act to pierce secret and unaccountable election practices

The Colorado Secretary of State and County Clerks appear to be collaborating to block public access to legitimate public information. The information might be embarrassing to election officials. Months of delays appear to be coordinated efforts to block the public from challenging official decisions.

1. CAMBER is trying to find out if Boulder County will use anonymous voting for the 2006 Primary Election. In recent elections, they did not permit anonymous voting. Click to read our Colorao Open Records Act request for ballot plans.

2. CAMBER is trying to preempt the Colorado Secretary of State from making a secret back room decision that could cover up dereliction of election duties at the expense of the public. Click to read our Colorao Open Records Act request for status of the HAVA complaint against HART eSlate voting equipment.

According to Al Kolwicz, CAMBER Executive Director, "It is no longer acceptable for election officials to operate in secret and be unaccountable to the public. We have trusted them in the past and look where it has gotten us. Trusting officials was a serious mistake."

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Holly Lowder - new Colorado Elections Director.

June 1 -- Holly Lowder is Colorado's new Elections Director. She just resigned from her job as Alamosa County Clerk and Recorder where she was appointed in 1981.

Alamosa County has fewer than 7,000 active voters. As of January 13, 2006, Colorado had 2,327,239 active voters.

We are very concerned that Ms Lowder's background does not appear to include technical experience.

Click to read our welcome letter.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

UPDATE: Public hearing on HART eSlate decertification

The May 24th public hearing on the HAVA complaint for wrongful certification of the HART eSlate was well run, well attended (50 citizens), and well worth the effort.

The hearing record will remain open until June 1st. I hope that you will submit letters and materials before then.

A decision will be announced by the Secretary of State on or before July 10th.

Click the CAMBER website to:

1. Read our brief.
2. Hear the audio-recording of the hearing.
3. Read a critique of the hearing and suggestions for future improvement.

Thanks to everyone who is helping to protect anonymous and verifiable voting.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

SOS response is deemed insufficient

A HAVA complaint has been filed against the Colorado Secretary of State which alleges that the Secretary of State wrongfully certified HART InterCivic DRE voting equipment.

A public hearing has been scheduled for May 24th.

The Secretary of State has insufficiently responded to a Colorado Open Records Act request.

Today the Secretary of State was sent an expanded CORA request, and asked to quickly provide the requested data.

“If the SOS stalls long enough, we won’t get the data we need, and we won’t be able to submit complete testimony at the May 24th public hearing,” said Al Kolwicz, Executive Director of CAMBER, a voter rights group.

Click to read May 17 -- Discussion regarding insufficiency of records response

The public hearing on the HAVA complaint is set for 1:30 p.m. May 24th at the Blue Spruce Conference Room of the Secretary of State’s Office, 1700 Broadway, 2nd Floor, Denver, Colorado.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Colorado accepts HAVA complaint against HART eSlate.

The Colorado Secretary of State has accepted a formal HAVA complaint filed against the certification of the HART eSlate voting equipment.

The complaint charges that the eSlate fails to provide anonymous voting as required by the Colorado Constitution and fails to provide private unassisted voting for blind voters as required by Federal HAVA requirements.

A public hearing has been scheduled for May 24, 2006, at the Colorado Secretary of State's office in Denver.

Today, a request was submitted to the Secretary of State asking for relevant documents including the test cases and results that were used for Federal and State certification.

This is a critical public hearing. It has been reported that 40 Colorado counties plan to use HART equipment. Some are in the midst of contract negotiations.

It appears that the Secretary of State is attempting to get HART contracts signed before the hearing.

If this is true, then this would be a major disservice to the public.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

HR 550 - More harm than good.

HR 550 does not solve the digital ballot problem. It creates the false illusion that it does, and moves us in the wrong direction.

A second and third ballot -- the paper audit trail and bar code -- will result in increased legal disputes, uncertainty, and loss of voter confidence.

Digital ballots must be outlawed -- until it can be proven that they can be made transparent, anonymous, and verifiably secure and accurate. At present they are not.

For an election to be trustworthy, the recording, interpretation, and counting of each eligible elector's intent must be verified and performed in a fully transparent and anonymous manner. The public must believe that results reflect the intent of the voters.

The problem with direct record electronic (DRE) voting equipment is that it records votes electronically. Digital ballots have been permitted to evolve because of two major flaws:

1. Wrong requirements -- Voting equipment vendors and election officials are recklessly attempting to reduce cost and increase convenience. They are ignoring the non-negotiable requirements. Reduce cost and increase convenience only when an election system is: (a) transparent, (b) anonymous, and (c) verifiably secure and accurate. To sacrifice any of these higher requirements will result in an untrustworthy election.

2. Wrong architecture -- Some people incorrectly assume that private voting for disabled voters requires digital ballots. A user interface for disabled-voters does not require that votes be stored on digital ballots. Votes must be stored on a medium that can be (a) transparent, (b) anonymous, and (c) verifiably secure and accurate. Paper meets these requirements.

Elections are intended to be deterministic (you get the same results no matter how many times you re-calculate). Surveys are understood to be stochastic (they are subject to probabilistic behavior). Checking samples of audit trails is not adequate verification.

What do we recommend?

1. Prohibit digital ballots and bar codes.
2. Require that user interfaces support paper ballots.
3. Require the same ballot for absentee, polling place and provisional voting.

Friday, April 07, 2006

HAVA complaint filed against HART eSlate

Two stories that you will want to know about have just been posted to the CAMBER website.

A HAVA complaint has been filed with the Colorado Secretary of State against the HART eSlate. HART estimates that more than 40 Colorado counties will be using this equipment for the 2006 elections.

Here’s what happened at Boulder County’s "public hearing" on voting equipment. It’s a case of government vs. the people.
Each is one page and very informative.

Monday, March 27, 2006

CAMBER appalled by Boulder County’s Evaluation

TO: Boulder County Proposal Evaluation Committee

Dear committee member:

We have reviewed your RFP Evaluation report and we are appalled.
1. The committee has failed in its duty to report these facts about the HART InterCivic proposal:

o It does not comply with the RFP requirements
o It violates Colorado law
2. The committee wrongly recommends changing the RFP terms after the bids have been submitted. This stinks to high heaven. The county will be accused of rigging the bid.

The RFP is for a lease not a sale, and there is no mention that lease costs would be credited against a future purchase.

Disclosure of these two deal sweeteners would likely have attracted additional bid responders and cost the county less. Adopting them would substantially rig any future purchase in HART's favor.

3. Details in the report are wrong (hopefully innocently). It is absolutely not true, for example, that the HART system is “the most universally accessible certified system available at this time”. AutoMark is more accessible, is certified nationally and by most states (not Colorado), and is available at this time.

AutoMark was suspiciously denied Colorado certification. HART’s equipment suffers from the identical problem used by the Secretary of State to deny AutoMark certification.

Something fishy is going on in the Secretary of State's office.

We worked long and hard to share with you the benefit of our work on this decision. We do not find that you have responded to our written concerns. March 13, March 20, and March 22, 2006. These letters are available at CAMBER/lease_RFP

We ask that you revise the conclusions in your report.
1. Expose the difficult and unanswered problems that we have brought to your attention.

2. Keep the terms and conditions of the RFP as it was presented to vendors, or issue a new RFP so that all vendors can compete.

3. Correct erroneous and misleading statements in the report.

4. Ask the Secretary of State to expedite reconsideration of the AutoMark and Vote-PAD.
The people of Boulder County do not want to have their elections contaminated by invisible digital ballots. Each incorrect digital ballot disenfranchises two voters – the voter whose votes are wrongly counted and the voter whose votes are zeroed out by the incorrect digital ballot.

Al Kolwicz
CAMBER – Citizens for Accurate Mail Ballot Election Results

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Don't ignore HART InterCivic problems

Apparently, a RFP evaluation committee member today made a verbal assertion that the recent elections problems in Texas have been found "not" to be the vendor's fault.

I have researched this, and been unable to find any written documentation or news references to support this assertion.

Instead, I have found:

NO statement or news on the Hart Intercivic website "News" section regarding any recent elections in Texas as of today (there is a gap of no news between 2/7/2006 and 3/22/2006) ...

nor on the company homepage, nor on the company press release page, though, interestingly, this statement, referenced in a newspaper article, can be found in the Google cache, but no longer appears on the Hart website:

Has the company retracted this statement (dated 3/14/2006)? Is there a new statement from the company to replace this? According to this Google cache document, Hart president Britt Kauffman said that the problems were "procedural" and not related to "programming, software or computer errors", does the company still stand by this statement, and if so, why does this statement no longer appear on the company's website?

There are seven (7) recent stories on the Dallas Fort Worth Star Telegram newspaper website, NONE of which suggest that the vendor has been absolved of any responsibility.

The most recent story (from today, Wednesday 3/22/2006) in the list indicates that NEW problems may have been found with Hart Intercivic equipment in a different county, from the local newspaper by way of the Dallas For Worth Start Telegram:

"The problem in the recount appears to be with new, federally mandated electronic voting machines, provided by vendor Hart InterCivic. During a hand recount, the machines are designed to print out paper ballots for each voter's choices, but McKerley said the machines that were used to register early votes printed out only 75 percent to 80 percent of the votes believed to have been cast."
(Incidentally, I would very much like to see the "paper ballot" printout capability, I was under the impression that the Hart equipment only printed out an "audit receipt". If the device printed a full paper ballot instead of storing votes in memory, it may be redeemable still).

The original story from yesterday, 3/21/06, is still posted.

There is one story indicating that in Tarrant County, TX, the challengers did not file recount requests, however, that story also says very clearly:

"Hart InterCivic, the company that made the equipment and wrote the software, took responsibility for the error the day after the election, and company officials said they would work with local elections officials to minimize future problems. Company officials have said that a procedural error led to inflated counts when merging totals from early voting, absentee mail voting and election-day voting into one report on election night."
The story also quotes a local candidate who chose not to file a recount as saying she chose not to spend the money in part because:

"we don't have any way of knowing whether the current numbers are accurate."
Given our previous experiences with verbal assertions made by the County Clerk, her supporters, and the vendor that turned out to be incorrect (need I remind anyone of the discrepancy between the "8 hours" we were quoted before the system was purchased, and the "24 hours" we were quoted afterwards?), I urge the committee to only accept those statements that can be documented in writing. Please feel free to include any of the references I have provided in your final report. Although the original confidentiality agreement you were asked to sign did not make it clear, is should be self-evidently obvious that you are free to discuss anything that has been made publicly available in a news report with anyone you choose.

If there is a new statement from the vendor, or other documented (not verbal) information available, I'm sure many of us would like to see it.

Has this committee actually tested this functionality itself or simply relied on assertions by the vendor or other parties?

If the committee is unable to resolve these legitimate questions as to the reliability and accuracy of this equipment, I cannot understand how it could possibly recommend that it be used in elections here. These public reports and our county's first-hand experience do not inspire confidence in voters, regardless of political affiliation.

According to Brad Friedman of the BradBlog website, the Dallas Fort Worth Star Telegram has contacted him to begin investigating the whistleblower's claims.

I hope that this committee will not simply rubber-stamp the County Clerk's continued failure to do thorough due diligence on our elections systems and instead represent the repeatedly stated consensus of Boulder County voters: support trustworthy elections based on paper ballots and reject any proposed use of DRE computer vote-storing equipment here. For a thorough read of Boulder County voter's positions on this issue, ask the Clerk and Commissioners to share with you the 200+ comments she received in response to the DRE Purchase RFP.

Make sure you get it in writing on paper!

Joe Pezzillo
Boulder, Colorado

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Additional data for the Proposal Evaluation Committee

Members of the Proposal Evaluation committee:

We have added some important new content to our site and hope that you will review it before making a decision. This is one of the most important decisions that Boulder County will make this year. We believe that it is worth the effort to get it right.

Some states choose "paper only"

Digital ballot equipment is not working

Boulder County Clerk pushes for unpopular digital ballots

AutoMark Federally certified, preferred by disabled voters.

We know that you are under pressure to select the only proposal offered. We ask you report that the proposal does not meet the requirements, and to recommend that the Clerk not accept the proposal.

As a committee, you have several options.

You can report that the proposal fulfills all of the requirements, which we have shown it does not.

You can report that the proposal does not fulfill all of the requirements.

You can report that you have had inadequate time and expertise to determine with confidence that the proposal does or does not fulfill the requirements.

If you do say that the proposal does fulfill the requirements (1 above), you would telling the citizens that the committee has carefully evaluated all of the systems, functional, legal and other requirements specified in the RFP document. It does not seem that there was time or talent to accomplish this.

If you do not say the proposal fulfills the requirements (2 or 3 above), the Boulder County Clerk can proceed without your endorsement, and might do so. Please do not lend your good names to this risky venture. The public and your friends will hold you personally accountable for what happens. To the extent that you permit the report to infer that you represent an entire organization, you will be risking the good name of your organization.

You have been notified that there are many HART equipment problems underway today. Our website includes several, but not all. If you recall, the HART person who presented the demonstration told you that every HART voting terminal is identical. This means that the problems being experienced throughout the country would be present in any equipment that Boulder County would rent.

We recommend that you do not bend to intimidating pressure from the Secretary of State’s office. The SOS has made grievous certification errors and would like the counties to go along with bad SOS decisions to avoid embarrassment.

Our elections are too important for this. Please reject the pressure.

We have done what we can to warn each committee member of the needless risk they would be taking if they were to assert that they evaluated the proposal against each requirement and found that it fulfills every requirement.

We would hope that you list the few areas where you know that the proposal does not meet the requirements and recommend that the proposal be rejected.

Short of outright rejection, we recommend that you take a “no position” because you have had inadequate time and talent to perform a comprehensive evaluation of the proposal.

We know that this is a difficult situation for you. We hope that you will do the right thing. Please do not deceive voters into believing that the proposal is something it is not.

Thank you for your public service.

Monday, March 20, 2006

CAMBER says, "Reject the HART/InterCivic proposal"

"Reject the HART/InterCivic proposal," CAMBER today asked Boulder County's Voting Equipment Proposal Evaluation Committee.

For several years, Boulder County voters have spoken out loud and clear. They want one ballot per voter and that ballot must be a full ballot text paper ballot.

The County received only one response to its RFP for Voting Equipment. The response is from HART/InterCivic.

HART proposes digital ballots. The people want paper ballots.

HART's solution does not permit disabled voters to verify the votes printed on the Audit Trail printer. The RFP requires independent verification of the printed ballot -- since they would be used for recounts.

The County refuses to evaluate other solutions, such as the AutoMark and the Vote-PAD. Other states are happily meeting their HAVA deadlines using these full ballot text paper ballot devices.

Check these facts:

New Mexico prudently chooses "paper only"

DRE digital ballot equipment is just not working

Boulder County Clerk pushes for unpopular digital ballots

There is something fishy happening at the Secretary of State's office. The SOS office wants a totally digital state -- e-mail and FAX for absentee voting, and DRE digital ballots in voting centers for in person voting.

They know that this approach closes the door to independent oversight. There would be no way to hold officials accountable for errors and fraud. Nobody will know.

The SOS office has misused their authority and blocked certification of paper ballot solutions.

It's too bad that we don't have an Attorney General that will stop their misuse of power.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Boulder County stalls. Withholds information.


The Clerk’s committee is planning to review a demonstration of the HART proposal 9:00 a.m., Wednesday March 15th. It is our understanding that the public will be permitted to observe. See AGENDA

There are BIG questions about whether the demo is going to be a scripted, slick marketing presentation, conducted by HART, or an evaluation, conducted by Boulder County election workers and voters.

Boulder County voters should be informed that they are invited to attend and observe this demonstration.


CAMBER submitted a letter to the committee yesterday, and has had no acknowledgement so far.

NOTE: We are asking questions about (a) the beneficiaries of the RFP, (b) the committee members, and (c) the demonstration.

It is possible that the County has no idea of how many people it is trying to serve with the proposed equipment. How otherwise to know how many units would be needed?

It is possible that some committee members may not be eligible Boulder County voters. Since Boulder County’s top talent was excluded from the committee, does it make sense that outsiders would be making this evaluation?

It is possible that the committee will not really evaluate the equipment, instead watching a scripted presentation where nothing can go wrong. Shouldn’t the committee evaluate what the equipment really does, in the environment that it would be used?.


CAMBER submitted a March 9th Colorado Open Records Request.

We have not yet received a response, and the committee’s time is almost gone. We heard of a March 22 deadline..

Two of the committee meetings have already happened and the demo is set for tomorrow.

Because we don’t have committee member contact information, we must rely on second hand accounts for our data, and we had to send our March 13th letter to the committee via Josh Liss.

Monday, March 13, 2006

CAMBER questions Proposal Evaluation Committee.

Boulder County received only one proposal in response to its Voting Equipment Lease RFP. The county has not released any information about the proposal other than it is from HART/InterCivic.

The clerk has appointed a hand picked Proposal Evaluation Committee. On March 9, CAMBER submitted an Open Records Request to learn about the committee.

March 13, CAMBER submitted a letter to the committee members to learn about the beneficiaries, the committee, and the March 15 demonstration.

Click to read a brief history of the recent effort by the Boulder County Clerk to circumvent public objections to Direct Record Electronic voting equipment.

More than 200 people responded to the clerk's invitation to comment. (This is a large file.) Only one or two of the respondents were supportive of the Salas plan. The remainder object to digital ballots and want paper ballots.

CAMBER recommends that the RFP be replaced by a more prudent proposal -- after it has won the people's endorsement.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Clerk apologizes - meeting was not to have been closed.

3/9/2006 4:24 PM

Josh Liss, Boulder County Elections Coordinator, called me today to apologize for their mistake in closing the meeting on Monday.

Next meeting is Friday, March 10, in Charlotte Houston Room. Notice is to be posted on County Commissioners website.

The meeting will be open to the public.

Also, Josh asked about the trustworthiness of a situation in which a DRE
machine tally and a printed record tally produce identical results.

Told him we'd be willing to address that and I had my doubts.

Geof Cahoon
Boulder CO 80304

Compton is asked to leave post early

According to the Denver Post, - Article Launched: 3/09/2006 01:00 AM

Partisan farewell

Colorado elections director William "Billy" Compton has been asked to leave his post early after he took a job as political director for the Democratic Party. Compton was scheduled to leave March 17, but left Wednesday instead.

Republican Secretary of State Gigi Dennis said through a spokesman that she wanted to avoid any appearance of a conflict.

"Mr. Compton is on paid administrative leave. His last official day was today," Dennis' spokeswoman Dana Williams said. "The reason for that is because of the nature of his new position with a partisan organization."

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Colorado political party hires Colorado's Elections Director

Colorado’s Director of Elections, Bill Compton is leaving to become Political Director for the Colorado Democratic Party

Is it proper for a high ranking Colorado election official to move to a high ranking position with a Colorado political party? It does not matter which party -- it does raise serious questions.

Can Colorado's 2006 elections be trusted? Compton is not the only employee to leave, and Secretary of State Gigi Dennis is new to the office. Who will be running the 2006 elections, certifying equipment and elections, and resolving election disputes?

Knowledge and contacts learned while serving as top election official could be used to tip election results. The Secretary of State must take specific actions to protect the people of Colorado from this threat.

• Not all election information has been released to the public. For example, detailed databases have not been released to the public, and they can give an edge to a campaign.

• Confidential knowledge of voting equipment is not public and can be used to secretly manipulate elections.

• Weaknesses in Colorado’s election system are known to Compton and can be exploited without much risk of detection.

Compton leaves behind an election system that is not secure, not accurate, not verifiable, not transparent, and not private. The system is open to error, fraud and abuse.

There is no reason to believe that Compton would abuse his knowledge, but the state has an obligation to take steps to protect the people.

The Secretary of State should get a written agreement from Compton attesting that he retains no access to or copies of files/records that are unavailable to the general public. This is typical for private sector key employees. It is vital that Compton be explicitly instructed and bound to protect this valuable information.

• Is Compton prohibited from keeping copies of files/documents for his own use?
• Is Compton prohibited from sharing insider information?
• Is there a clear identification of confidential information?
• Are high level employees bound by non-disclosure agreements?
• Who is responsible for protecting insider information?

All political campaigns (candidate as well as issue) should immediately take steps to protect themselves. Contact the Secretary of State and confirm that Colorado’s valuable election information will be protected from the revolving door of election officials.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

David Dill is beginning to "get it".

David Dill’s March 7th article Making Democracy Transparent shows that Dill is beginning to “get it” but has not yet “got it”.

We have preached long and hard that trustworthy elections are required to be transparent, use anonymous ballots, and be verifiably secure and accurate. Dill appears to be catching on -- albeit slowly.

Dill wants us to believe that elections conducted using digital ballots can comply with these requirements, without offering any proof that they can do so. We have seen no evidence that this is true, and continue to distrust claims that they can.

Stopgap solutions, such as US HR 550, don't meet these requirements. These stopgap measures are harmful; they are used to deflect pressure for addressing the fundamental system problems and enable officials to purchase inadequate electronic voting equipment.

We welcome Dill's work in the field, and hope he will soon join us in our quest for election systems that are transparent, use anonymous ballots, and are verifiably secure and accurate.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Say "no" to email and fax voting

Colorado legislators act to weaken secure elections. Through Senate Bill SB-062, Colorado legislators and election officials intend to permit voting by email and by fax.

If "limited" email voting were available to anybody, I believe that the “equal protection” clause of the law would permit others to gain access to the voting method. Can anybody guarantee that this would not happen?.

In any event, there are many elected officials who have experienced an election win or loss due to a very small number of votes. The point being -- EVERY SINGLE VOTE IS IMPORTANT, AND WE CANNOT SACRIFICE ANY. These officials should understand this. Elections are getting closer and closer. Every ineligible vote counted is a way to disenfranchise an eligible voter – by cancelling the eligible voter’s choices.

Also, for those who would vote for this bill I ask, “how can it be verified that the person voting by email is the specific person who is authorized to vote the ballot? The bill does not address this major defect. Consequently, email voting credentials will instantly have significant value.

Email voting credentials will be sold by voters who don’t care about the election contests. They will be bought by those who are able to collect these credentials and sell them (in a block) to the highest bidder. It will be like selling your user-ID and password to your internet account. Nobody will know if it is you, or your friend, or some miscreant who is logged into your account. Think of the power an individual will have when he says to a candidate, “I can offer you voting credentials for 15,000 votes if you will give me …”

I can see the buyer’s sales pitches now -- Your voting credentials are your ticket to this gigantic “let’s not vote” party. Come one, come all. Leave your credentials at the door.

Or better yet – donate your voting credentials to “worthy cause”. Worthy cause has a deep pockets donor who will make a $20.00 donation for every set of valid credentials that we give to him.

FAX voting has its own set of concerns. As with absentee voting, voters can be intimidated and there is nobody to see it; return envelopes can be signed by the eligible voter and turned over with the un-voted ballot FOR A PRICE; and signatures can be transferred from other documents or simply forged without concern for detection – since the person forging the document is never seen. To my knowledge, there is no evidence that signature verification accurately authenticates that the person who signed a ballot is the eligible voter.

Does anybody believe that those outside of our country would not take advantage of this gigantic opportunity to influence American elections?

SB062 is a step toward election chaos. Those voting FOR the bill will show their lack of understanding of why verifiable security is mandatory, and should be kept far away from future election system matters.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Voters need to replace Colorado election officials

Trustworthy elections are an essential component of representative government.

Current election officials are failing to provide trustworthy elections.

Colorado Voter urges voters to elect new election officials who will adopt a balloting system that provides for transparent elections, anonymous ballots and verifiably secure and accurate results.

- Current officials refuse to provide a secret ballot.

- Current officials refuse to permit public oversight of elections.

- Current officials refuse to require verifiable election system systems and procedures.

- Current officials refuse to require secure voter authentication and balloting.

- Current officials refuse to require proof of accuracy for each election process.

Those currently serving as Colorado's election officials must be replaced. We need executives who are committed to providing transparent elections, anonymous ballots and verifiably secure and accurate results.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Email voting is coming to Colorado and state election director who fostered it is quitting

Just one day after testifying to the Colorado House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs committee about how carefully email voting would be managed under SB06-062, state elections director Billy Compton resigned as noted in today's Denver Post story County voting officials boxed in - Voids in 2 state posts add to anxiety over August primaries. Proponents of voting integrity lost that vote after Billy testified twice, and the committee approved email voting 6-5 along party lines.

Despite acknowledging that there are grave problems with security using email voting, Mr. Compton testified his office would be able to safely use email voting. He also testified how one sailor on one ship had not been able to fax his ballot so he had brought forward the plan for email voting. However, it was clear that Mr. Compton had not sought input from military sources as to the need for or how email voting might be implemented or from technical or security experts. The committee also broadened the bill so that email voting can essentially be used by anyone overseas. Presumably they meant to limit it to citizens but Senator McElhany's bill to require proof of citizenship to register to vote was defeated so China, Mexico, and wherever, feel free, Colorado welcomes your votes.

For six years now, that I'm aware of, every time there has been a bad idea for voting, or the Colorado Sec. of State has been approached for information, or to enforce election law or constitutional protections such as a secret ballot, Billy Compton has been the culprit.

Compton and Drew Durham backed Accenture for the non-existent voter registration database that he couldn't get going after four years and, as the article notes, hasn't even gone out on bid yet for a new contractor.

Boulder County bought the Hart Intercivic voting system that Compton's office has now certified for disabled voters. The Hart system couldn't handle ballots fast enough for a polling place election and eliminated a secret ballot. So now Boulder is looking for a whole new voting system but Compton's office simply turned a blind eye to the problems.

So Billy Compton definitely won't be missed but the disasters of his heritage will live on.

Charles E. Corry, Ph.D., F.G.S.A.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Voting equipment selection process will be closed to the public

In December, the Boulder County Clerk solicited public comments on a Draft RFP for voting equipment.

The draft provoked hundreds of citizen comments recommending against the use of electronic voting. Click to read the 5.7 MB (200 page) Draft RFP citizen comments.

Despite the enormous public backlash, the county clerk has decided to proceed with her plan to bring untrustworthy digital ballots to Boulder County. Click to read the Rental RFP.

CAMBER filed an Open Records Request (see February 2 posting). One of the items requested is:

“Planned checkpoints including dates that the public will have an opportunity to participate in the process.”
The County Attorney responded (see February 3 posting) that:

"Generally, the RFP process is closed to the public, for a variety of sound business reasons."
Election officials are telling us that the people have no say in how their elections will be conducted.

What happened? Boulder County once had a tradition of supporting open government.

This is the time for the press and citizens to rally together and work to restore transparent government.

Friday, February 03, 2006

County response to Feb 2nd Open Records Request

February 3, 2006

Al Kolwicz
2667 Tincup Circle
Boulder, CO 80305

RE: Open Records Request Dated February 2, 2006

Dear Mr. Kolwicz:

This letter is a response to your Open Records Request dated February 2, 2006.

1. Equipment requirements are stated in the RFP, which can be accessed at . A copy of the RFP is also available for inspection in my office. Please call me if you would like to inspect the document.

2. Voting system requirements are stated in the RFP.

3. The County does not have custody of a record containing “rejected requirements submitted by citizens.”

4. As stated above, the requested RFP is available on the web or for inspection at my office. Drafts of the RFP remain work product and as such are not releasable under the Open Records Act. C.R.S. 24-72-202(6)(b).

5. The only identified dates for the RFP process are those set forth in the RFP itself. I also have in my office, for your inspection, a copy of the section of the County's Policy Manual regarding RFP's. Generally, the RFP process is closed to the public, for a variety of sound business reasons. However, the Policy does set forth when the public is given notice of certain information. Additionally, when the Clerk is ready to make a recommendation for award, this will occur at a business meeting. It will be within the discretion of the Board of County Commissioners whether or not to take public testimony at that time.

When reading the RFP Policy, it would be helpful to keep in mind that the requirements and procedures vary for "invitations to bid" (referred to in the policy as 'bids') and Requests for Proposals. The selection of voting equipment for lease will conform to the procedures for RFPs, not bids.

The following information was provided to me by our Purchasing Agent, Jenny Olberding, which might be helpful to you in understanding the difference between a bid and an RFP as set forth in the Policy Manual.


Competitive sealed bidding requires that bids be evaluated and awarded on information contained in the invitation at the time of the bid opening. No substantive changes would affect determination of an award. Some examples of a Bid would be for the purchase of something that does not include a service component, such as equipment, vehicles or supplies. As per County policy, bids are opened publicly. The name of the company and their offer are read aloud publicly.


RFP’s allow the County to negotiate the services and equipment submitted in a proposal to meet the organizations needs. RFP’s are evaluated not only on price, but can include ability to meet a set of minimum requirements, qualifications and previous experience. Price is not always the determining factor in the evaluation of an RFP. As per County policy, RFP’s can be opened publicly, but only the names of the firms who submitted are shared. This process has been established to maintain the integrity of the RFP process and to provide a fair and competitive negotiation process to the best of our ability.

6. There are no documents containing the “[n]ames of people who contributed to the requirements and RFP.”

7. A list of potential vendors is available for your inspection at my office. This list documents the known vendors that the RFP was sent to directly; however, the RFP is open to any Vendor, and the County will accept any responses that meet the RFP and RFP Policy requirements.

8. There are no written procedures for how the public will participate in the specification of requirements and the RFP. As I stated above, the RFP process and work done by the evaluation committee will be closed to the public, per long-standing County policy. There may be some opportunity for public input during this process, but that will be determined by the evaluation committee. As you know, the RFP was originally released to the public for input prior to its release to vendors. Although the RFP changed during that time from an RFP for Purchase to an RFP for Lease, the substantive equipment requirements remained the same. Therefore, the County was able to use and incorporate many of the public comments in the final version of the RFP for Lease. At this point, the public has had input in the RFP process. Any further input will be at the discretion of the evaluation committee and the Board of County Commissioners.

9. There are no documents that include "[p]rocedures for how the public comments that were collected by the clerk will be evaluated and integrated in the rental RFP." Public comments were received and incorporated as appropriate. Both the comments received by the public and the final RFP are available on the web for public inspection. A review of both will reveal what public comments were incorporated into the final RFP.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at 441-3855.


Shelley Stratton Bailey
Assistant County Attorney


Available for inspection:
List of Vendors
Boulder County Policy Manual—Section II: Finance/Budget/Purchasing
RFP # 4730-06

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Boulder County secretly developed and today released RFP

Boulder County secretly developed and today released to suppliers a RFP for rental voting equipment.

Many citizens are concerned that the RFP does not explicitly require: (1) a secret ballot, (2) a paper ballot, and (3) voting equipment that is verifiably secure, accurate and transparent. Any RFP that does not specify that these three elements are mandatory is unacceptable to these citizens.

CAMBER has been trying for weeks to gain access to information about the RFP and the process being used to develop it. The county has successfully kept secret the rental RFP and associated data from the public.

CAMBER immediately issued an Open Records Request in order to discover what Boulder County has planned for the 2006 Primary and General elections.

CAMBER hopes that the February 2nd Open Records Request will bring some sunshine to Boulder County.

Spokesman Al Kolwicz said, "We are terribly disappointed that Boulder County has seen fit to conduct the public’s business in secret. It is not the standard that the people expect from public officials."

Open Records Request - February 2, 2006

Ms. Bailey,

Attached is an Open Records Request form.

We are terribly disappointed that Boulder County has seen fit to conduct the public’s business in secret. See below. It is not the standard that the people expect.

There ought to be a law protecting the public from public officials who abuse their office to silence dissent.

We hope that the county will provide an immediate response to our new request.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.



The following request is made under the Colorado Public Records law:

Date: ______________________2/2/2006

Name: Al Kolwicz
Organization represented (if any): CAMBER
Address/Phone No.: 2867 Tincup Circle, Boulder, CO 80305

Name of document(s) requested:

February 2, 2006

We have read in today’s PRESS RELEASE that Boulder County has released an RFP for rental voting equipment for the 2006 election. As you know, we are very interested in the purity of the 2006 elections.

We request copies of drafts and final documents related to the solicitation of bids for the rental voting equipment, including but not limited to:

  • Equipment Requirements
  • Voting System Requirements
  • Rejected requirements that were submitted by citizens
  • Request for Proposals (RFP)
  • Planned checkpoints including dates that the public will have an opportunity to participate in the process.
  • Names of people who contributed to the requirements and RFP
  • Identification of potential vendors
  • Procedures for how the public will participate in the selection of the vendor proposals
  • Procedures for how the public comments that were recently collected by the clerk were evaluated and integrated into the rental RFP

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Election system manipulated by officials?

There will be no public input and no public oversight for Colorado elections.

Secretary of State Gigi Dennis(R) and Boulder County Clerk Linda Salas(D) are both expected to be on the ballot during 2006.

As insiders, they should be taking steps to assure the public that there will be no insider manipulation.

Instead, both officials are blocking the public from ensuring that elections will be secure, accurate, verifiable and transparent.

Click to read some disturbing correspondence.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Boulder County - anti open government

From: Al Kolwicz
Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2006 10:25 AM
To: 'Bailey, Shelley'
Cc: 'Liss, Josh'; 'Salas, Linda'; Boulder County Commissioners
Subject: RE: CORA denial - BC Voting Equipment RFP

Ms. Bailey,

We are in receipt of your January 18th denial of our request for records.

What your client is doing may be legal, but it certainly does not seem ethical, and is definitely not in the best interests of the people of Boulder County. As you know, Boulder County people place a high value on open government.

  1. We are unaware of any law that prevents your client from conducting public business in a transparent fashion. We find no law that prevents your client from including interested members of the public in the election requirements development process. We ask again to review a copy of any of the subject material as soon as it is no longer shielded by the laws that your client is using to prevent public oversight.
  2. Are we to understand that your client does not use responsible management practices? According to your reply there are no plans; no checkpoints; no procedures; no particular individual(s) accountable for the content of the final RFP. This is very disturbing. As soon as your client has a plan, a checkpoint, a procedure, or a person(s) accountable for any of the subject material we ask to be receive a copy of same.
In our January 12th Open Records Request we asked, “Because the requested information will likely be changing daily, we would like to be updated daily as new information becomes available. Or we can work out with you a schedule for regular updates to the material.”

Is it your client’s intention to honor this request?

Is it still the case that there are no plans, schedules, procedures, and that no particular individual(s) accountable for development of the requirements and the RFP?


Al Kolwicz
CAMBER – Citizens for Accurate Mail Ballot Election Results
2867 Tincup Circle
Boulder, CO 80305

CAMBER is a dedicated group of volunteers who are working to ensure that every voter gets to vote once, every vote is counted once, and that every ballot is secure and anonymous.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Would this qualify as a “conspiracy”?

It is very clear that there is a coordinated effort to disallow paper ballots in Colorado. This might be illegal. At a minimum, it should be reason enough to replace every elected official and candidate who is working to suppress the wishes of the people. Would this qualify as a “conspiracy”?

Click to read the facts.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Colorado plots to block paper ballots

When vote marking devices record votes on paper rather than digital ballots, elections can be verified. One of these paper ballot vote markers is the AutoMARK.

Colorado's Secretary of State has been working to block adoption of the AutoMARK. Why?

Call for certification

The AutoMARK is already certified by the Federal government and by most of the following 20 states: CA, WA, OR, NM, AZ, MT, WY, ND, SD, KS, NE, TX, MN, IA, MO, AL, IL, OH, FL, WV. More states are pending.

The Secretary of State has refused certification of the AutoMARK claiming that a blind voter might require assistance. This is Colorado's trumped up excuse not a reason for refusing to certify the device.

The federal government and 20 states are satisfied with the AutoMARK. Disabled voters who have used the equipment are satisfied. Every device certified for use by disabled voters will encounter some circumstance where the voter might require assistance.

Colorado should come clean. Certify the AutoMARK if it is secure, accurate, verifiable and transparent.

Call for competition

Colorado has disallowed competition between paper and digital ballots. The Secretary of State excluded paper ballot vote marking equipment from the state's omnibus RFP for voting equipment. The requirements are anti-paper ballot. State has discouraged the vendor, ES&S, from responding to the RFP.

There is no room in Colorado for anti-competition in our choice of voting systems. Voting systems must be judged on whether they are the most secure, accurate, verifiable, and transparent.

No more sunshine in Boulder County

Using legal loopholes, Boulder County officials have taken new steps to block public oversight of its scheme to control the ballot box. They don't care who votes as long as they get to count the votes?

Boulder County has refused public inspection of its voting equipment draft RFP. In response to CAMBER's Open Records Request the county has slithered behind the law to hide its intentions and block the public from participating in voting equipment decisions.

Colorado law does not require that public officials keep plans secret. Public officials who believe in transparent government engage the public before making decisions.

By blocking public participation the county can manipulate the process and force an untrustworthy voting system on the voters.

In addition, the County is operating with no written records and/or plans. There is no accountability.

The voting equipment "requirements" decision is a multi-million dollar decision. It will affect the voting rights of each and every Boulder County voter.

To make this decision without a written plan is reckless.

Boulder County commissioners should tell the Clerk that they would like to see a plan for including the public in the development of the voting system "requirements".

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Clerk's Office RFP On-Hold

We just received a press release from Boulder County.

The Boulder County Clerk has decided to place her Voting Equipment RFP on hold.

We are delighted to learn that the clerk will not purchase voting equipment without public support.

However, we are very concerned that the announcement does not mention a public process for setting the rental equipment requirements.

If the clerk goes forward with her plan, as disclosed in the draft RFP, the 2006 Primary and General Elections are at risk.

What's needed is a PUBLIC PROCESS to develop requirements for the voting equipment to be rented and a plan for the 2006 elections.

We ask people to do what they can to ensure that the clerk embraces this public process.

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."