Reports of traceable ballots, voting irregularities and a county clerk who was “completely unprepared” for the June primary are prompting concerns about Colorado’s readiness as Election Day draws near in a presidential battleground state. Last week, an elections integrity group asked a federal judge to order clerks in Boulder, Chaffee and Eagle counties to stop marking ballots in a way that allows them to be traced to the person who cast them. If the practice continues, it could lead to election results in those counties — and others that use similar markings — being invalidated, an attorney for the non-profit Citizens Center stated in court filings. Late Monday, Secretary of State Scott Gessler issued an emergency rule prohibiting the markings, saying in a press release “this practice ends today.”
Gessler’s office also has sent the former deputy director of elections for Arapahoe County to run the November election in Teller County. The intervention came after staff from Gessler’s office determined Clerk Judith “J.J.” Jamison “failed to plan for and document the most remedial aspects of elections” and wasn’t prepared to handle this fall’s contest. Jamison’s own Republican county party has asked her to step down from her job or face a recall vote.
The state also recently sent two staff members to Chaffee County to investigate an abnormally large number of primary ballots that were filled out in two colors of ink — a possible sign that someone added votes in races that were left blank. As part of the investigation, the staff took five days’ worth of video recordings from surveillance cameras that were running in the areas where ballots were processed and stored, Clerk Joyce Reno said. Marilyn Marks, founder of Citizens Center, said Monday the combined issues are a sign that Colorado — which the nation will likely be watching closely on election night — isn’t ready. “There are a tremendous number and variety of vulnerabilities in the system,” Marks said.