The 2012 elections are big news, but the media are not reporting Colorado’s potential role in a national election fiasco.
Those who understand election equipment and procedures warn that Colorado elections cannot withstand close scrutiny. We call for changes to prevent humiliation if the national press attempts to verify Colorado’s election returns.
If Colorado were an “emerging democracy,” the Carter Center would reject calls to monitor our elections because we fail to meet their minimum transparency standards. If a national contest is decided by Colorado’s vote, as Bush/Gore was by Florida, press everywhere will severely criticize the “Wild West” elections in some Colorado counties.
Surely the most mistake-ridden election in recent Colorado history has received little attention, although it is Colorado’s “canary in the coal mine” of elections. A statewide grand jury report declared that numerous irregularities are routine in Colorado and therefore not subject to legal remedies. Many problematic election activities not viewed as blatantly fraudulent are deemed “substantially compliant” and therefore free from enforcement.
Do the following examples from Saguache County’s November 2010 election for governor, senator and local races satisfy you as “good enough for government work”?
After a bipartisan citizens’ canvass board refused to certify election results due to irregularities, the clerk unilaterally issued a certificate of election renewing her own job.
Improperly purchased, uncertified, untested and unsecured voting equipment failed the post-election audit, yet its tabulations were deemed “official.” A canvass board’s reasonable attempt to hand count was blocked by the secretary of state, in favor of the suspect machine counts.
Surveillance videos of equipment operations were deleted after a reporter filed a Colorado Open Records Act request.
The election night results showed that two incumbents lost. The clerk then conducted an unsanctioned new tabulation three days later that returned the incumbents to power.
The clerk destroyed most election night paper records and refuses to release electronic copies of election data, claiming they are a manufacturer’s proprietary records.
Secretary of state staff initially boasted that they verified the new revised tabulation. But, when shown they weren’t present to verify the tabulations, they claimed that a new count had not actually occurred, despite proof to the contrary.