by Todd Shepherd | Colorado Watchdog
BOULDER — Tensions between election watchers in Boulder County and the clerk and recorder’s office have now spilled over into legal action.
A lawsuit has been filed against Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall, alleging Hall has blocked certified election watchers from observing the receiving and handling process the Clerk’s office is using for military and overseas voters.
The free-market think-tank Independence Institute* is a partner in the suit with lead plaintiff Ralph Shnelvar, who is an authorized election watcher in Boulder County.
Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that Hall has violated state law by denying the election watchers, “the ability to meaningfully observe the handling of mail-in absentee ballots and Uniformed Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) ballots, at each stage of the election…”
In addition to providing general access to the ballot handling process, the lawsuit asks the court to direct Clerk Hall to provide the canvass board and election watchers the following provisions as well:
- Witness the duplication of ballots to verify accuracy of voter intent.
- Observe the tabulation process or display screens of voting equipment at any time that the voter is not in the immediate area for purposes of voting or casting his ballot.
- Witness hand count tabulations as they are being conducted.
Tensions between the canvass board and Hall had been brewing earlier in the month, when the Boulder Weekly reported that the canvassing board accused Hall of denying them access to the printing of ballots. According to the Boulder Weekly, “Hall is sticking by her story that it was the printing facility, not her office, that refused to grant activists access to the local ballot-printing operation (in early October).”
The canvassing board in Boulder this year has a distinctly different makeup, thanks in part to Tom Tancredo‘s run for Governor as a member of the American Constitution Party (ACP) in 2010. Because the percentage of statewide votes Tancredo received even in defeat, the ACP is currently considered a “major” political party by state law. Therefore, the board previously would have typically consisted of three Republicans and three Democrats. This year, the make up is two Republicans, two members of the ACP, and two Democrats.
The canvassing board is the “umbrella” agency charged with overseeing the integrity of an election. Members of the canvassing board can be election watchers, but if someone is an authorized election watcher, that does not mean they are not necessarily a member of the canvassing board.
Hall could not be reached for comment.
*The Independence Institute is the employer of the author of this article.
Contact Todd Shepherd at [email protected]