A disputed election in south-central Colorado is now in the hands of a grand jury that is reviewing allegations that the clerk and other officials committed crimes when they tallied the votes. The officials under investigation stood to benefit from the election’s outcome — most notably Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers — who, along with County Commissioner Linda Joseph, at first lost but then won their races after Myers declared the races had to be retabulated due to a technical glitch. The snafu hasn’t just initiated secret court proceedings.
It’s also knocked over a political hornet’s nest. “Family style voting” in Saguache County caught the attention of the Colorado Elections Division, which noted in a December report that partitions were not used Nov. 2 to protect voter privacy. It is but one example of problems that plagued the county’s disputed general election.
The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office initially claimed it didn’t have jurisdiction in the races, despite its heavy involvement in the election in question. A secretary of state official was present on election night — when Myers and Joseph were thought to have lost — but no one from the state directly oversaw the retabulation that changed the outcome. State officials did, however, remain in regular communication with Myers and provided her with guidance on how to proceed.
The office also sent two officials to Saguache County two weeks after the election to conduct an audit. The secretary of state also rejected the county election canvassing board’s request to hand count the machine-plagued races.