Election Integrity in Colorado

Printed in the August 3, 2023 Chaffee County Times and August 11, 2023 in the Mountain Mail.

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Election integrity is a concern for both Democrats and Republicans!.

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Here is the complete transcript of the ballot request described in the above post.


I am filing a request under The Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) C.R.S. § 24-72-201 for an electronic copy of the following record for the 2022 General Election:

Please send the voted ballot images, with the audit mark page, in the tiff file format. The ballot images should show the manner in which voter marked the ballot and the audit mark page show how the voting system interpreted and tabulated the voter’s markings on the ballot, as adjudicated and resolved by election judges, if applicable.


Requester + Staff

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Thanks for your submission. We are working on your document(s). Please be advised if the research time necessary to fulfill the request exceeds one hour, we require a deposit based on the estimated time that will take to fulfill the request. Our office will contact you if the estimated research time exceeds one hour.

December 21, 2022, 9:19am

Document(s) Released

6_General Election 2022 Official Abstract - Sheet1.pdf

Requester + Staff

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Apologies again, I accidentally sent you the primary CVR - these are the CVRs for the 2022 General Election.

December 21, 2022, 9:52am by Marcella Post (Staff)

Requester + Staff

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Chaffee County Clerk and Recorder is in receipt of your Colorado Open Records Act (“CORA”) request for scanned ballot images from the November 2022 Election. Under Section 8 of article VII of the Colorado Constitution 24-72-204(8)(a) and 24-72-205.5(1)(a), C.R.S all ballots must be reviewed and redacted of any personal identifying information before viewing by members of the public. Therefore, the Clerk and Recorder will be required to review and redact any ballots that may contain personal identifying information. The Clerk and Recorder has estimated that it will take approximately two staff members 183 hours @ $30 per hour to review the approximately 12,000 ballots and approximately 30 hours to redact any personal identifying information. The initial cost estimate for your CORA request will be $6,390.00 and under the County will require half of cost to be paid before we start working on your request.

Please note that Clerk Mitchell has indicated that she plans on making the documents you requested available to the public by the first of the quarter 2023.

December 21, 2022, 3:26pm by Marcella Post (Staff)


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The quote of $6,390.00 for review and redaction of Personal Identifying Information on the Ballot Images is unreasonable.

Here is the statute that regulates CORA requests requiring reasonable cost: Colo. Rev.Stat. § 24-72-203(b)

"Where public records are kept only in miniaturized or digital form, whether on magnetic or optical disks, tapes, microfilm, microfiche, or otherwise, the official custodian shall:
(I) Adopt a policy regarding the retention, archiving, and destruction of such records; and
(II) Take such measures as are necessary to assist the public in locating any specific public records sought and to ensure public access to the public records without unreasonable delay or unreasonable cost.

The statutes cited in your correspondence were irrelevant to support your inflated estimate of cost. 24-72-204(8)(a) just says there cannot be PII on the ballot:

24-72-204 (8) (a) A designated election official shall not allow a person, other than the person in interest, to inspect the election records of any person that contain the original signature, social security number, month of birth, day of the month of birth, or identification of that person, including electronic, digital, or scanned images of a person’s original signature, social security number, month of birth, day of the month of birth, or identification.

Anonymous ballots are a hallmark of our election system. There is no place where formal PII is on a ballot, and any spurious marks on a ballot were detected and the ballot duplicated during the election count, per Section 18.3.2:

18.3.2 Procedures for counting paper ballots on ballot scanners at central count locations
(a) Before tabulation, a resolution board must duplicate damaged ballots, and may duplicate ballots with marks that may identify the voter, in accordance with Rule 18.4. Election judges may visually inspect every ballot for the limited purpose of segregating damaged ballots and ballots with marks that may identify the voter. If this section was adhered to during the election, the ballot images in question do not contain PII in need of redaction.

Am I now being told that in Chaffee County these ballot handling instructions were not followed?

All section 24-72-205(1)(a) says is you can charge me in accordance with subsection 5:

24-72-205 (1) (a) In all cases in which a person has the right to inspect a public record, the person may request a copy, printout, or photograph of the record. The custodian shall furnish a copy, printout, or photograph and may charge a fee determined in accordance with subsection (5) of this section; except that, when the custodian is the secretary of state, fees shall be determined and collected pursuant to section 24-21-104 (3), and when the custodian is the executive director of the department of personnel, fees shall be determined and collected pursuant to section 24-80-102 (10). Where the fee for a certified copy or other copy, printout, or photograph of a record is specifically prescribed by law, the specific fee shall apply.

The referenced subsection (5) is not relevant either, just saying I can be charged:

(5) (a) A custodian may charge a fee not to exceed twenty-five cents per standard page for a copy of a public record or a fee not to exceed the actual cost of providing a copy, printout, or photograph of a public record in a format other than a standard page. (b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a) of this subsection (5), an institution, as defined in section 24-72-202 (1.5), that is the custodian of scholastic achievement data on an individual person may charge a reasonable fee for a certified transcript of the data.

Statute does not allow Chaffee County to invent expensive tasks to disincentivize my request by quoting an outrageous cost. My request is for a large but straightforward digital image file. That is how I should be charged. My request is for already existing digital data where at least three Colorado Counties have posted their ballot images online for all to see.

You state that you will be posting the Chaffee County images in Q1 2023. Was Chaffee County planning to spend 183 hours examining and 30 hours redacting these images for this purpose? If so, why are you charging me if you were planning to do it anyway?

And I struggle to understand how it is even possible for you to redact or otherwise edit digital ballot records. Who would monitor this process? Are election judges present? What restrictions are placed on what can be edited, and by whom? Is the original, unredacted data retained? In short, how could I possibly know that your processed images still accurately reflect the ballot images predating my request? And why bother keeping these images if they can be edited at will by Chaffee County Staff?

Please revise your cost estimate according to statute. There is no PII on these ballots requiring laborious and expensive processing. This task was already completed by our election judges. Any payment required of me to fulfill my request should be nominal. Vince Phillips

December 29, 2022, 9:54am by the requester via email

Requester + Staff

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Good Morning Mr. Phillips,

I forwarded your response to the County Attorney and will hopefully get back to you with some answers to your questions.

January 3, 2023, 9:28am by Marcella Post (Staff)

Requester + Staff

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Good Afternoon Mr. Phillips,

The County Attorney has stated that the County’s previous response to you is the official response to this request. Some ballots may have write-in candidates or other small handwriting that could be considered PII, and that would need to be redacted before releasing to the public. If you are requesting these ballots on a CORA timeline (i.e. County employees would be pulled away from their regular duties to solely focus on this request), then the estimate is still $6,390.00. Otherwise, the ballots should be available to the public by the first quarter of 2023.

Let me know how you’d like to proceed.

If you have any other questions, please contact County Attorney Daniel Tom.

January 4, 2023, 3:07pm by Marcella Post (Staff)

Requester + Staff

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Both El Paso and Pueblo counties posted their ballot images without redacting handwritten write-ins. See attached.

Regardless, there were two elements in my initial information request. The second element I requested was the Audit Mark Pages. Since there are no voter marks possible on these documents, I renew my request for the Audit Mark Pages.

January 9, 2023, 8:40am by the requester

Requester + Staff

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Chaffee County Clerk and Recorder is in receipt of your Colorado Open Records Act (“CORA”) request for “audit mark pages” showing “how the voting system interpreted and tabulated the voter’s markings on the ballot” from the November 2022 Election. The audit mark pages are included as a .tiff document with each individual voted ballot. Staff will be required to independently delete the voted ballot because under Section 8 of article VII of the Colorado Constitution 24-72-204(8)(a) and 24-72-205.5(1)(a), C.R.S all ballots must be reviewed and redacted of any personal identifying information before viewing by members of the public. In order to remove each ballot to obtain only the “audit mark page”, the Clerk and Recorder has estimated that it will take approximately one staff members 120 hours @ $30 per hour to review and redact the approximately 12,000 ballots. The initial cost estimate for your CORA request will be $3,600.00. The County will require an initial deposit of $1,800.00 before we proceed with your request. Thank you.

January 11, 2023, 8:12pm by Daniel Tom, County Attorney (Staff)

Requester + Staff

Three examples of how the Dominion Voting Machines change the image of your ballot after scanning. The blank ovals next to each name on the paper ballot disappear after the ballot is scanned.

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For example, on the ballot below, only the write-in name has an oval. None of the other names do.

Wow! You are really reaching here. Instead of being a sore ass loser, why not work to get your party/candidate/yourself a more realistic world view. Your conspiracy theories are childish and easily disproven, all of them. Back in the day when a candidate lost an election he/she would work harder to earn the vote of the citizen NOT cry for years about easily disproven conspiracies. This is pathetic!

Thank you for sharing your perspective. We value open dialogue and respect different viewpoints. Our intention in addressing these matters is to ensure transparency and uphold the integrity of the electoral process. It’s important for citizens to engage in discussions about elections, and we appreciate your input.

While our focus is on seeking answers and addressing concerns, we also understand the importance of moving forward and working to bridge gaps in understanding. Constructive discussions about election processes help us all to ensure the credibility of our democratic system.

We believe that healthy debates can lead to positive change and improvements. If you have any specific concerns or questions, we are here to listen and engage in meaningful conversations. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts.

BV Patriot-this is all great news!

If these are easily proven conspiracy theories, you must have copies of the unredacted ballots from the 2022 Chaffee County Election, as well as the missing surveillance videos from the 2020 Chaffee County Election. I am so relieved our great local nightmare is over. Phew!

Can you share all this data with the rest of us?

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Chaffee County Times 8-31-23 and Mountain Mail 9-5-23

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More reason to protect election integrity.

Hillary Clinton claims Putin might be trying to interfere in the 2024 US election as he ‘did’ in 2016, as claimed by her and the Democrats. WATCH


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I just found this bruising letter in the Mountain Mail 2012 Archives:

Reader comments on ballots

  • Aug 14, 2012

Dear Editor:

Who beat up Chaffee’s primary ballots?

The story Aug. 3 on the secretary of state’s just-launched investigation of Chaffee County’s “black and blue” marked ballots in the June primary alarmed many.

In 10 years of scrutiny of elections looking at thousands ballots, I have seen fewer than a dozen whose voters used different ink colors to fill in individual squares. The hundreds of Chaffee County ballots from June’s primary that are marked with both black and blue inks are unusual and signify a material irregularity.

Chaffee County residents should demand a thorough investigation as to who or what caused this anomaly, be it a mistake or fraud.

It is too bad, though, that it’s too late to prevent anyone who benefited from malfeasance from being on the November general election ballot.

This irregularity, caught only after the election was cast in concrete, points out the need for citizens and the press to review anonymous voted ballots before elections are certified.

Please recall that we would not be in this fix if the Chaffee County clerk had simply honored the law – the Colorado Open Records Act – last fall and turned over the 2010 ballots when Marilyn Marks requested them.

Instead, the clerk played games with the citizens’ money and sued Marks. The clerk said something like “I can’t turn over the ballots because they can be traced back to the voter,” which is both unethical and unconstitutional.

Though Marks has won on the merits of the controversy, Chaffee County officials have not yet shown the integrity to pay her attorney’s fees.

Furthermore, Clerk Reno, along with her peers, and supported by the commissioners, lobbied the legislature to pass restrictions on public records. This new law allows ballot inspection only after finalizing the election instead of during the checking process after election day but before the election is certified.

Thus it is only now, when it is too late to redo steps in the election, that such irregularities can be exposed by public and press inspection.

Why do the clerks insist on preventing citizens from verifying our own elections? Why indeed? Maybe because someone is marking ballots to reflect their own will rather than that of the voters?

I hope Chaffee County residents are monitoring the clerk’s office with special scrutiny. The secretary of state needs to look at all the evidence.

Maybe the black and blue ballots resulted from an innocent mistake. Maybe not. Citizens must learn what happened.

Too bad nothing can be done about whatever improper impact this irregularity likely had on the outcome.

Mary C. Eberle,

Reader comments on ballots | Letters to the Editor | themountainmail.com


Two Democrats claim drop boxes have become the key to election conspiracy theories.

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I’ glad that Griswold’s actions are finally coming out in the open. I had problems with her during the 2022 election. When I couldn’t verify that mine and my husband’s votes were counted I contacted her office. All I got was the runaround from her office and after 6 months she referred me to Chaffee County Clerk and got another runaround for another 6 months. I wish that when Judicial Watch settled their lawsuit against Colorado for having dead voters on the roster that the settlement would’ve included making Griswold step down but at least Colorado has to have their rosters audited for 5 years.

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The National Guard are experts in cybersecurity?

Polis says he activates them every year.

“They laughed as they explained they were going to abuse social distancing rules in order to prevent Republicans from observing vote counts.”