Chaffee County Poll Watcher

I, Carle Linke, a long term elector in Chaffee County, felt compelled to place this paid ad revealing important information, since my Letters to the Editor are routinely unpublished.

During the June 28 Primary Election, I attempted to participate as a Poll Watcher. I volunteer my time because I want to trust our elections. I arrived at the Courthouse at 4 PM on June 28 with the necessary credentials to Poll Watch. And was fully aware of the law and my rights to do so.

Immediately upon my arrival, County Staff denied my access to directly view the election activities. Instead I was assigned to a vantage point too far away to see anything of value. In trying to make my case, I presented to the Clerk and Staff the Colorado Secretary of State Rule 8.10.2 for Poll Watchers:

“Watchers must be permitted access that would allow them to attest to the accuracy of election-related activities. This includes personal visual access at a reasonable proximity to read documents, writings or electronic screens and reasonable proximity to hear election-related discussions between election judges and electors.”

Despite the fact that Clerk Mitchell had signed off and submitted a form to the Colorado Secretary of State attesting that she would accommodate these exact procedures for Watchers, I found out otherwise. I was told that Rule 8.10.2 might be the letter of the law, but is not how things are done. In other words, sit down and be quiet. I tried several times to get them to at least look at rule 8 to no avail, at which time a Law Enforcement Officer arrived. This officer stayed as long as I remained in the County Courthouse Election facility. No bodycam exists for this encounter.

During this time I repeatedly asked to see the Dominion Voting Systems Scanner, which is used to scan the ballots and tabulate the votes. I was finally told that the scanner process had been moved to a Building at the Chaffee County Fairgrounds! I have since learned that the County Republican Party Chairman had no idea that Clerk Mitchell had deconstructed the single room election facility dubbed the “Rainbow room” or “Dungeon" by some. It was constructed at great taxpayer expense in 2021, requiring the removal of a wall, but was only used one time in Nov 2021. I also have no idea how the equipment re-validation required by law could possibly have been performed after such a move, and without public notification.

I traveled to the Chaffee County Fairgrounds, where despite my rights and complete credentials I was denied access to the room containing the Dominion Voting Systems scanner and computer. I therefore decided to call the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office for assistance. The Deputy deferred to Clerk Mitchell. I was never allowed within proximity of the scanning process. I was told to sit and watch at a distance through a dirty, wired window. You can watch the bodycam footage of this encounter, and review other data here: Chaffee County Poll Watcher. Earlier the Sheriff’s Deputy had consulted Sheriff Spezze, who stated it is not the responsibility of the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Dept to enforce election law. So I ask: who is responsible for enforcing the law? If not the County Sheriff, then who? Show me a system of laws without enforcement, and I will show you a broken system.

Such is the advantage of power of our elected officials, where lawful public oversight of our election process is denied, and my only recourse is to pay for this ad. This is not new coming out of the Chaffee County Clerk’s office with their overreach of power, made-up (unlawful) rules, and restrictions of public oversight.

We still have never seen the 2020 election surveillance videos, and have received no definitive explanation for how the system supposedly failed. Efforts to obtain election surveillance video from the 2022 Primary election have stalled due to the exorbitant fees being demanded. And now there are election processes scattered throughout the County Courthouse’s back rooms, hallways, basement room, and the fairgrounds miles away, it is evident that there are not sufficient cameras/placement to ensure election integrity. I asked a County Employee why the election process was separated, She mentioned because of the threats to Lori, I responded “Do you mean the squirt gun incident?” this question was met with admonishment from the County employee.

Also, Clerk Mitchell was on the recent Primary ballot, and is by law not allowed in the ballot handling facilities, but there she was personally transporting ballots, making flash drives of results, uploading results all by herself, a job which requires by law a buddy system of one each Republican and Democrat election judges.

I invite Clerk Mitchell to respond to this letter and to engage in a civil and open dialog. There is a repeated claim that Chaffee County has gold standard elections. I assume this means that if the laws and procedures are being followed, the election outcomes can be trusted. I can personally attest that the laws and procedures as written are NOT being followed. We should continue to vote, but to ask questions, and speak up with what we witness and experience until this is rectified. I, like all electors, just want to trust the process, and have our entire vote count, whether it be in Our small County, Our State , or Our Whole United States.

Our government officials spend an awful lot of time telling us there are no problems with elections.
These same people refuse to allow us to watch these election processes, and scream if anyone wants to investigate any election issue.

We deserve better. Do you sense a pattern here? What is the problem if there is nothing to hide?

Here’s an email to Clerk Mitchell asking for the election schedule. Clerk Mitchell never responded.

Here’s a link to the Colorado Secretary of State’s rules for Poll Watchers.

Here are several articles from reputable journalists showing that watchers are allowed to roam.

Here’s the Poll Watcher Plan Clerk Mitchell must file with the Secretary of State. In it she says, “We will designate a spot in our elections processing room that will allow watchers to view all processes.”

Watcher Plan 2021.pdf (1.8 MB)

The new election facility made all the news in September 2021.

This is the Sheriff’s body cam video from the call. Here are the names of the people involved.
0:49 Carle Linke, Poll Watcher.
3:14 Kathy Rodgers, a Republican election judge.
5:18 Lori Mitchell, Chaffee County Clerk and Recorder.
9:24 unidentified staff.

Migrating to YouTube

Here’s a link to a power point presentation describing a citizen’s attempts to obtain the 2020 election surveillance videos. Clicking on link will take you to a file sharing site called MediaFire. It will download the file and allow you to view the power point presentation.

If you are not logged in, you may have to click on the “DOWNLOAD” link on the upper right to view the power point presentation.

Here’s a link describing the famous squirt gun incident.

SoS election rule 7.4.5 states: The county clerk must arrange for the collection of ballots by bipartisan teams, of election judges and/or staff, from each drop box location once it is open and receive the ballots into SCORE.

I filed a CORA request for the Chaffee County 2022 primary ballot box logs. In the logs I saw some things that are plain wrong.

File = 2022 Primary election Voted Ballot transport log.pdf

  • Page 2, 16th entry. The receiving seal is marked “open”. Receiving judge, or staff, did not sign.
  • Page 3, 1st entry. Only one judge, or staff, signature applied.

File = 2022 Primary Election Transport Box Custody log 1.pdf

  • Page 5, 7th entry. Only one judge, or staff, signature applied.
  • Page 7, 2nd and 3rd entry. Only County Clerk’s, Lori Mitchell, signature applied!
  • Page 10, 6th entry. Only one judge, or staff, signature applied.

Why can’t the DA be contacted and charge Lori Mitchel with the laws she is breaking or allowing to be broken?
Kathy

Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

For the 2020 election, I filed an affidavit with the DA which got lost. They found the affidavit and assigned it to an ADA. The ADA said he didn’t know election law, so he had to study up on it. Finally, the ADA admits the law says the DA has to investigate and he said he assigned an investigator. After a few months later I wrote and asked how it was going. The ADA said it’s an on-going investigation, I can’t tell you. A few months after that, the ADA left the DA’s office.

So let me get this straight. If you go to the County Sheriff with proof of an election law violation, it is not their problem. Even though the Sheriff is the only option to implement change in real time, while an election is still in process. By the time you go to the DA, the election is already over. But the DA can just delay responding, then kick the can down the road some more, until the citizen finally stops trying. Meanwhile, that same DA’s Office made damn sure to bring Barry Morphew up on charges for voting for his missing wife. Morphew cheats one vote and it is nationwide news. But our Clerk disenfranchises thousands of voters, and the DA shrugs it off. Does that sum it up?

Yes, Colorado election law says to report any violation of election law to the DA.

The whole situation is appalling.

Colorado election Law:

1-13-702. Interfering with watcher.
Any person who intentionally interferes with any watcher while he is discharging his duties set forth in section 1-7-108 (3) is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished as provided in section 1-13-111.

1-13-111. Penalties for election offenses.
In all cases where an offense is denominated by this code as being a misdemeanor and no penalty is specified, the offender, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars, or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

EL Paso County sees the same “Broken Chain of Custody” problem.

It’s a lucky thing this is all a conspiracy theory. Otherwise, someone might begin to think that Colorado elections are completely out of control, and we are now officially a banana republic!

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But wait, this data is all real! What does that mean?

Could it be the real conspiracy theorists are the ones who tell you there is no problem with our elections, and simply expect you to take their word for it? They then deny there is any evidence, at the same time using every crooked method at their disposal to prevent the public from finding out the truth.

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Here’s surveillance video stills of our poll watcher. Plenty of room inside the ballot counting room to watch, but no.
The law doesn’t matter in an election. All that matters is what Mitchell says.

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Does anyone know if the Chaffee County Election Board has been contacted yet to see if they have the authorization to put a measure on the ballot for voters inn Chaffee County to vote on whether we want to get rid or keep the Dominion machines? I’m sure we will have to get signatures to have the measure put on the ballot but was wondering if the Election Board was the place to start.