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