Boulder election results not certified by canvass board -- only county rejection in Colorado

Categories: News, Politics

Denver voter image thumb.jpeg
Big photos below.
Election day may seem like a fading memory in Colorado. But the divisiveness of the race is alive in Boulder County, where members of the canvass board has refused to certify the results, arguing that there were many problems -- including dozens of precincts where they say more votes were counted than ballots cast. Election officials call those allegations false and maintain that the refusal to certify won't impact the outcome.

The canvass boards in each county are the bodies that audit the election and are responsible for officially certifying the results after all the ballots have been counted.

John Hickenlooper on Election Day 1.jpeg
Sam Levin
Governor John Hickenlooper at a vote center in Aurora on election day.
Each canvass board can have two representatives from the Democratic, Republican and American Constitution parties -- plus the county clerk and recorder.

On the Boulder Canvass Board, the two Republican representatives and the two from the American Constitution Party, which became a major party last year, voted not to certify the election. Those four outweighed the two Democratic canvass board members and Boulder Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall, also a Democratic, who voted to certify the election results.

That makes Boulder the only county not to have its election certified by the canvass board. The county's elections are now in the hands of the Secretary of State's office.

The canvass board members who rejected certification cite what they see as several serious flaws in the operation of the election. Meanwhile, Hall says the election and its results are solid and portrays the conflicting views as politically motivated and outside of the board's scope.

"The clerks run the election, but the elections don't belong to them," says canvass board member Mary Eberle, who represented the American Constitution Party and voted against certification. "Elections belong to the citizens...and in this particular election, and I fear in many elections in Colorado, the clerks did not allow the citizens to play the role that the general assembly has intended for them to play -- and that's the oversight and the ability of election watchers to correct discrepancies."

She says, "Citizens can't have confidence in the results."

In a letter to Secretary of State Scott Gessler, on full view below, the opposing canvass board members explain why they are not certifying the election. Here is an excerpt:

In summary, thousands of ballots have been cast and counted without proper eligibility verification. Hundreds of others have been rejected without proper verification. If the lack of reasonable verification has allowed a meaningful number of ballots to be rejected or counted improperly, local contests in particular may be impacted. For example, we believe that

• At least 18,500 ballots were not subjected to reasonable signature checks. Without further work we cannot estimate whether a material number of ballots were improperly rejected or accepted.

• 3,255 provisional ballots need considerably more review for both rejection and acceptance and partial acceptance. Some contest outcomes could be impacted by a high error rate.

• 130,000 ballots were recorded in the pollbook by the uncertified, trouble-prone Bell & Howell equipment. The impact on the accuracy of the pollbook and Official Abstract is unknown.

Eberle argues that the clerk and recorder's office did not provide the data the canvass board needed to feel confident in the results and that, in general, proper checks on the validity of the votes were lacking, especially in regard to mail-in ballots.

At the same time, she says there were 41 precincts in which "total votes counted" were more than "total ballots cast."

"That seemed unusual," says Eberle. "We think that [the cause]...needs to be determined."

Continue for response from Boulder election officials and for full documents.

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