The election ballot system used by Boulder County is at the center of a standoff between Secretary of State Scott Gessler and several of Colorado’s county clerks. And someone has to blink soon, since the deadline for printing ballots is fast approaching. In addition to Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall, the players include Marilyn Marks, an Aspen activist who has filed suit against Gessler and a number of counties for using ballots printed with information that can be used to trace the identity of voters, contrary to state law. After being confronted with the outcome of Marks’ investigation, in which she and others demonstrated how to track ballots from a June primary election in Chaffee County to the individuals who cast them, Gessler recently issued an emergency rule saying counties could no longer use the serial numbers or bar codes in question. The rule also requires clerks to black out that information when releasing past voted ballots under the state’s open records act, in an attempt to mitigate the damage done and prevent any further tracing.
Boulder County’s Hall is among the clerks who have argued against the new rule, saying the numbering system is crucial to running a smooth election. This week, Hall asserted that she can continue using the codes in question and comply with the new rule, as long the numbers are not unique and are repeated, so that they are assigned to multiple voters and cannot be tracked down to any single individual. But some, like Marks, don’t think Gessler’s rule goes far enough, because it doesn’t keep government and election workers from seeing the code and raising the possibility — however remote — that one of the most basic tenets of a successful democratic election, the confidentiality of voter identities, could be compromised.
Full Article: Can your vote be traced?.