Election season shenanigans in one Colorado County have some voters wondering if it’s a case of full blown corruption, an incompetent county clerk, or both. From duplicate ballots to stymied poll watchers to media intimidation, a slew of voting irregularities continue to surface in Adams County Colorado.
According to the Adams County Web site, it has 207,495 active voters. It’s been widely reported that over 209,000 ballots have been mailed to these active voters.
Over 200 duplicate ballots had been verified as being sent, in what was described as a printer error. Nearly 100 voters also received incorrect ballots, listing the wrong congressional, statewide legislative, municipality, and school district races. County Clerk Karen Long also blamed the printer for the ballots containing the erroneous information.
However, the clerk’s office did take responsibility for over 100,000 ballots sent with the word “constitution” misspelled.
Aside from ballot issues, more irregularities have come to light in the voting process and ballot counting. New accounts are emerging of poll watchers being denied the opportunity to challenge problem ballots as well as a media representative being ousted in her capacity as an election observer.
Marilyn Marks reported her experience as an Adams County poll watcher in an October 23rd Facebook post:
“Yesterday I was the LONE watcher with 50 judges in one room. I cannot possibly challenge what they are all doing, yet I saw many errors. Also, they are allowing only one watcher for many teams of signature verification judges. My colleague tried challenging some very questionable signatures and they refused to “slow down” to allow him to write down the names on a challenge form. The Clerks, with the help of the SOS, are making it impossible to verify anything in some counties. We saw bad signatures but with one person and teams of judges with rapid button click approval—the right to challenge is effectively useless.”
Marks filed a complaint with the Secretary of State’s office. In a separate complaint, details show that a reporter’s attempt to observe the voting process were unwelcome.
Nancy Wenlock, a writer for the Prairie Times filed a complaint with the Secretary of State describing how she was intimidated and turned away as a media observer at the Sunny Acres nursing facility.
In a phone interview, Wenlock described her October 23rd visit to Sunny Acres in which she identified herself to staff as media with credentials on hand. She described how she was shown the first area where voting occurred. Due to the lack of activity there, she went to observe a second area where the election judges—who are partisan in Adams County—attempted to close the door to the conference room where residents were voting. Election Rule 8.9 as issued by the Colorado Secretary of State says: “Media Observers may witness all election activities.”
The election judges were meeting with residents one-on-one in the conference room.
Wenlock recounted that a facility administrator named Judith Helms told her that the judges did not want her watching them. She was threatened with arrest and left. Wenlock stated:
“Closing the door to the conference room to where voting occurred shut the door to media scrutiny. What are they trying to hide from the public?”