Scott Gessler: Boulder clerk protesting election non-certification sang a different tune in 2004


A spokesman for Gessler tells us that the Secretary of State's office, which is now reviewing the results in Boulder, has to make a final decision by December 6.

At this point, without the canvass board certification, the results in Boulder technically remain "unofficial," though it is unlikely the numbers will change.

"I don't entirely remember," Gessler said, when asked why Hall voted against certification back in 2004.

This time around, the canvass board members refused to certify due to a wide range of concerns, including accusations of improper signature verification procedures, discrepancies in the number of ballots counted by precinct and more. Hall said she has offered a wealth of data showing that each of the claims of her opposing canvass board members is false.

Hillary Hall, Boulder.jpeg
Hillary Hall
In our interview last week, Gessler didn't go so far as to say that his office will definitely certify the Boulder results. But he pointed out that he has the authority to certify. "My deputies spent a lot of time up there, so we've been paying very close attention to this. It's not something that's sort of new for us.... We've been monitoring this, talking to the clerk and recorder and talking to the canvass board very frequently."

He added, "I feel very comfortable that we will make a good, well-informed decision.... My view is, this stuff happens. You work your way through it. There are mistakes made in elections.... No one is absolutely perfect and there's controversies, so we'll deal with it. I'm not worried about being able to deal with it."

Asked about the 2004 race and why she voted against certification then, Hall recalled that the canvass board decided that two of them would vote against as a statement that changes were needed.

"It was more to draw attention that we needed to be better with the canvass boards," she said.

Hall explained that she didn't intend for the results to go uncertified back in 2004, since she knew her "no" vote wouldn't impact the final outcome. Rather, she wanted to highlight flaws with the canvass board process on the whole.

"How do you bring in people that don't do this every day and help them understand how the pieces fit together?" Hall asked, noting that, at the time, there were concerns with how the canvass board, made up of appointees from the various parties, was receiving information during the process.

While she can't remember the specifics of her gripes at the time, she said that her background there in part motivated her to consider the clerk and recorder position that she has today.

"It's from that experience that I get what a canvass board needs," she said.

And having been through the process and eventually stepping up to the clerk and recorder position in the same county, Hall said she has made a lot of improvements -- which is why, she said, it has been especially frustrating that the canvass board in 2012 is refusing certification.

"We put so much effort into it. I truly believe we give more time and attention [to the canvass board] than any other county," said Hall. "And I do think it's important."

Hall said that her office has reviewed relevant processes with the canvass board members, showing them how signature verification and early voting works, for example. She said that her team gave the board data files at three separate times along the way, going beyond what is required and providing insight into a wide range of components of the election. (The opposing board members told us last week that they feel Hall and her office have not provided enough information for them to feel confident).

She learned a lot from 2004, she said. "It...makes me work hard to present the information that we do.... We go out of our way to give more information than most counties do."

More from our Politics archive: "Amendment 64: If it's a disaster, other states won't move to legalize pot, says GOP's Ryan Call"

Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin. E-mail the author at Sam.Levin@Westword.com.


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