2020 Primary Election Minority Report

July 20, 2020

The Boulder County Republican canvass board members sought to achieve bipartisan approval of the certification for the State 2020 Primary Election. Republican members approved the certification of the November 2019 and March 2020 elections. We had concerns through the November 2019 and March 2020 elections and sought to have an on-going dialogue to resolve those concerns with the Clerk and Recorder.

We have appreciated the following improvements over the past several elections:

● Streamlined records request process.
● The hiring process of election judges that better followed statute.
● Streamlined procedures in Voter Services and Polling Centers (VSPCs).

One of the most important activities in Boulder County’s mail ballot election system is that of verifying signatures on the ballot envelopes to determine whether or not a ballot can be counted. Signature verification is the cornerstone of ensuring the integrity of the election since most ballots are cast by mail.

In the state of Colorado, this activity is conferred on election judges of the several parties sworn to perform their duties to the best of their abilities. Election judges compare the signature on the ballot envelope to the signature s in the state database. Once it is determined that the envelope has been signed by the registered voter to whom the ballot was issued, the ballot is separated from the envelope and sent to the scan room for counting.

When a bipartisan election judge team is unable to verify the registered voter by their ballot envelope signature, the ballot envelope with the ballot inside is segregated until the voter can confirm that he/she submitted the ballot. These ballots are logged on the Signature Discrepancy Tracking Log per state statute. The voter is sent a cure letter that asks them to confirm submission of their ballot up to eight days after election day. If they confirm submission, the ballot is separated from the ballot envelope to preserve the secrecy of the vote. The ballot is then sent to the scan room, where it is scanned by audited machines that count the votes.

Boulder County Clerk and Recorder provided canvass board members with several documents designed to show transparency and accountability in their systems. As an example, the Scan Room Summary gives a detailed accounting of what happens to every ballot that is deemed eligible for counting. There are similar documents showing accountability for ballots printed and cast at the Voter Services and Polling Centers.

To assure voters of the integrity of the election, the same transparency and accountability must be given to the signature verification process for mail ballots. However, the canvass board was not provided documentation that accounts for the number of ballots that were rejected for signature discrepancies. The Signature Discrepancy Tracking Log only shows about half of the ballots the Clerk and Recorder rejected. The Clerk and Recorder are unable and unwilling to account for the additional mail ballots that were rejected.

Colorado Open Records Act allows canvass board members to request and review significant documentation. In an attempt to find a resolution, we requested Ballot Batch Logs related to the mail ballot signature verification process. Election records are required by statute to be kept for twenty-five months. As we explain in our Request for Resolution, the statutes support our duty to review additional information if we find an error or omission. We believed the Ballot Batch Logs would add clarity. However, we were informed these Ballot Batch Logs records had been destroyed.

The Request for Resolution was submitted to the Clerk and Recorder prior to the canvass board meeting. Additionally, we made a motion to our fellow canvass board members to take forty-eight hours to review new information provided by the Clerk and Recorder less than an hour before the canvass board presentation. This motion was blocked by the Clerk and Recorder. There was no vote on this motion. We then sought to see if there was another way to account for these additional rejected ballots, but the Clerk and Recorder halted discussion and imposed an immediate call to vote, a week in advance of the state deadline.

Canvass board members were unable to complete our duties as outlined in the statute. There are unresolved discrepancies in the data and documents provided to the canvass board and we are deeply concerned with the disenfranchisement of registered voters. Therefore, we cannot in good conscience certify the State 2020 Primary Election.