Friday, Dec. 4, 2020
When the Republican Party refused to sign off on Boulder County’s official election results last week, it wasn’t some big show of support for outgoing President Donald Trump, whose slow acceptance of reality inspired similar actions elsewhere in the country.
It was business as usual for the local minority party, who have thusly declined to stand behind elections many times in recent years.
“Unfortunately, having a local republican party representative decline to sign our certification is not new,” wrote Mircalla Wozniak, spokeswoman for the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder, in response to emailed questions. “It has happened 8 times in the last decade.”
Boulder County was one of two in Colorado where republicans declined to certify election results, the Colorado Sun reported, Jefferson County being the other. The state is expected to certify results this week.
In a press release, the Boulder County Republicans took umbrage with the remote observation necessitated by COVID. “Blurry video and
poor sound” prevented election workers from properly auditing parts of the process, they alleged.
Party chair Theresa Watson responded to emailed questions and agreed to an interview but did not respond to subsequent requests to schedule a call. The story will be updated with additional comments if provided.
“We have issues with the processes implemented that interfere with a transparent and fair election,” Watson wrote.
Wozniak disputes those claims.
“Nearly every election they come up with a different reason not to certify, but it usually centers around additional logs or reports they want us to produce that are outside the scope of canvass and certification,” she wrote, referring to the canvass board, the bipartisan body tasked with verifying that the number of ballots counted does not exceed the number of ballots cast at the county and precinct level. “Anything outside of that is not part of the canvass duties.”
This year, Republican Party representatives filed a Colorado Open Records Act request for “procedure documents and accounting logs,” according to a press release from the county. Those will be provided, the county said, but not as part of the certification process. David Murray represented Boulder County Republicans on the Canvass Board.
Murray’s absent signature did not impact process. Results were certified.
Wozniak said meetings with the Canvass Board were otherwise “very positive and cordial.” The county’s official statement said “both party representatives thanked election staff for their hard work, presentation, and for answering all their questions.”
Local Democrats are less charitable about republicans’ antics.
“They’re either willfully ignorant of that process or they simply don’t understand” how it works, said Raffi Mercuri, chair of the Boulder County Democrats. Mercuri sat on a previous Canvass Board and said staff “always explained themselves and took time to make sure republican (members) were on board. This is not a democratic cabal manipulating the results of the election.”
“Despise the fact that (staff) are extremely transparent, cooperative and patient,” Mercuri said, republicans “still want to raise issues that don’t exist.”
Boulder County followed procedures laid out by the state for things like signature verification, conducting a risk-limited audit and determining criteria for rejecting ballots. Colorado’s elections are heralded nationally as a model of safety, security and voter accessibility.
“There’s so many stopgaps in place to ensure the integrity of the ballot,” Mercuri said. “This year was not a significant deviation from (that) level of scrutiny or professionalism.”
“It’s frustrating when you’re the minority party in the county, you feel like you don’t have any power. (But) there’s absolutely nothing wrong with our elections.”
— Shay Castle, firstname.lastname@example.org, @shayshinecastle
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