With Colorado considered a key battleground state in November, the last thing anyone wants is a Florida-style fiasco, supporters of an elections recount bill testified today. Senate Bill 155 sets procedures for public inspection of voted ballots, while attempting to ensure that how Coloradans voted remains confidential. Under the proposal, anyone filing an open-records request to inspect ballots would not be able to do so 45 days prior to an election or 17 days after so that clerks can concentrate on their election duties. Outside that time period, the ballots would be available for inspection. “It is not a stretch to imagine that Colorado could find itself with a very close result in the upcoming election,” said Donetta Davidson, executive director of the Colorado County Clerks Association. “Should that happen, this bill will give Coloradans a road map to inspect the election results without compromising voter privacy. And it is our hope this bill will make us much less likely to see legal battles and inconsistent court rulings.”
The Senate State Veterans & Military Affairs Committee unanimously approved the the measure, despite urging from opponents urged it be delayed until after the election while county clerks document any potential problems.
“The only people I’ve talked to who like this bill are election lawyers because there are so many opportunities for them,” said Marilyn Marks, who sued the city of Aspen to inspect ballots after she lost a mayoral race. A Colorado Court of Appeals ruling last year on that case effectively made voted ballots an open record, a decision that created concerns for county clerks. Some protested that ballots should never be made public.