Broomfield Vote on Fracking Ban Triggers Recount

November 14, 2013
By
Flatiron_Crossing_Village_Broomfield

A recount over the fracking ban vote is underway and being challenged in Broomfield County.

BROOMFIELD – The Colorado Libertarian Party and several election integrity groups sought to postpone the recount of ballots cast for and against the proposed five-year ban on hydraulic fracturing. The Broomfield City and County Clerk failed to give the required 24 hour notice before the Thursday canvas.

It’s the latest in a series of complaints about improper election procedures in the county clerk’s office – including more than 50 missing ballots and processing a voter’s residency affirmation on Election Day, noting that she had died two days after casting her ballot in October.

“I will be in the City and County building to demand the Clerk and Recorder fully comply with all election law, especially the proper setting and notice of the canvas board meetings,” declared Jeff Orrok, state chair of the Libertarian Party, in an email.

Orrok, Marilyn Marks of Citizen Center and Al Kolwicz of Colorado Voter Group sent letters to the Broomfield City Council, county attorney and clerk and recorder, demanding the canvas of the election be delayed to give proper notice and allow observers to watch the process.

“Please recall that canvass board decisions made outside of properly noticed public meetings can be subject to legal challenges by any voter or interested party,” said Marks. “Full transparency and a diligent review of every voter’s ballot determination is essential throughout the rest of this troubled election.”

The recount was triggered because the fracking ban initiative was narrowly defeated by 10,266 to 10,253 votes – or 50.03 percent to 49.97 percent.

The election night count did not include more than 300 overseas and provisional ballots and 363 ballots that were deemed faulty.

Another 55 ballots are reportedly missing – 22 cast by seniors in a nursing home. The office had issued ballots to these people, but weeks later demanded the electors fill out and sign a “self-affirmation” to document the length of their residency.

According to sources, the “Self-Affirmation of Elector” documents were processed, but their corresponding ballots have not be located or counted. Even if the ballots are found they may not be counted if the self-affirmation documents were processed after Nov. 5.

“I would assume that it would be counted, but that is up to the election judges,” said county clerk Jim Candalarie, who added that all of the ballots will be reviewed.

Candalarie said a member of his staff delivered ballots to the Broomfield Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation center on Oct. 22, and assisted them in voting. On Nov. 5, the county clerk’s office returned to the nursing home to have the voters fill out the “Self-Affirmation of Elector” forms.

All of the individuals checked off the first box, “I moved on or before October 6, 2013. (All races and questions will count.)” The county clerk staffer wrote “unable sign” on several of the documents.

Leoda Jean Spensieri’s document box was checked, but the staffer wrote, “Leoda Spensieri has passed away on 10/24/13.” She had voted on Oct. 22, but apparently her ballot won’t be counted because she died before Nov. 5.

The remaining two options, having moved to Broomfield on October 7 or Oct. 12 limited the ballot questions which have different residency requirements because of flaws in the election reform act, House Bill 1313.

Marks said that Broomfield’s election problems stem from a lack of knowledge about the election reform law and differing residency requirements. She and other county clerks told The Colorado Observer that when required, the self-affirmation document is signed before the ballot is issued.

“If elected officials want to engage in shenanigans with the ballot box, they are welcome to move to Chicago,” said Orrok. “I’m sure Rahm Emanuel will have plenty for them to do.”

Comments made by visitors are not representative of The Colorado Observer staff.

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