Box of Stashed Ballots Could Invalidate Contested Broomfield Election

January 8, 2014
By
Broomfield officials now admit finding a box containing about 75 ballots that for unknown reasons were not counted

Broomfield officials now admit finding a box containing about 75 ballots that for unknown reasons were not counted

BROOMFIELD – In the wake of lawsuits and complaints against Broomfield for attempts to cover up and ignore problems in the error-riddled November election, city officials now admit finding a box containing about 75 ballots that for unknown reasons were not counted or reconciled to the voter records.

Broomfield election officials plan to open the “Pandora’s Box” on Friday at 10 a.m. in the Zang Spur Room of the city and county building. Even if uncounted eligible ballots are found, Broomfield City and County Attorney Bill Tuthill said that won’t change the election results because they were certified.

But others disagree and contend that could be grounds to invalidate the election. And a Broomfield District Court judge barred the election certification in December.

“These materials were not included among any of the materials reviewed or included in the original count or the recount,” admitted Tuthill in response to litigation filed by plaintiff Broomfield Balanced Energy Coalition (BBEC).

BBEC opposed a measure to impose a 5-year ban on hydraulic fracturing used in oil and gas exploration. The ban was reportedly failing on Nov. 5, but passed by 13 votes after provisional and out-of-state ballots were counted.  The close margin triggered a mandatory recount that turned up an extra 19 ballots, and resulted in the measure passing by 20 votes.

“Mr. Tuthill may claim that newly found ballots will not alter the vote count, that is exactly what an election contest does when evidence is presented to the court,” said Marilyn Marks, an election integrity advocate who has challenged Broomfield’s election process.

She said that the 75 or more ballots cast by voters which were not processed, counted and reconciled far exceeds the narrow 20-vote margin victory of the controversial fracking ban measure.

“This election cannot be verified and will not withstand the scrutiny of the court, particularly with the addition of this sudden discovery of more ballots,” declared Marks.

City Manager Charles Ozaki informed Broomfield Mayor Randy Ahrens and city council members on Jan. 2 of a mysterious box containing an estimated 75 ballots reportedly stashed in Election Manager Michael Susek’s office.

“We have not counted them but believe there are fewer than 75 in total,” said Ozaki in an email disclosing the problem.  Two ballots were reportedly in unopened envelopes.

“After cursory review, staff believes that all but two of these ballots are either:  1) ‘un-voted,’ meaning without marks indicating voter action; or 2) ‘spoiled,’ meaning the voter made mistakes sufficient to request a replacement ballot, which would have been tracked in the official election database,” said Ozaki.

Unknown is where the ballots came from, why they were tossed in a box, who had access to them and why they were not properly processed – even spoiled ballots are processed and documented to reconcile election records. Blank ballots are processed through the voting machines and accounted for.

The box of ballots is the latest quirk in questions about the integrity of the Broomfield election. Records also indicate that Susek or a city employee repeatedly logged into the ballot accounting database as the administrator and downloaded vote tallies repeatedly for two weeks before the Nov. 5 election.

“If there are any unspoiled, voted ballots among the election materials in the box, it might alter the number of legal votes that may have been improperly rejected,” said Tuthill, but it won’t change the “certified” recount.

“The canvass board completed its work and certified the results of the recount on Dec. 5,” asserted Tuthill. “At this point in time, no ballots can be added or subtracted… the parties can learn whether there exist and eligible, voted, unspoiled ballots that were not included in the ballots counted during the original election or the recount.”

That statement appears to conflict with a ruling made by District Court Judge Francis Wasserman who issued a temporary injunction on Dec. 10 requiring Broomfield County Elections Department to “withhold certification of the election recount results regarding Question 300.” A hearing on the issue is pending.

The recount certification was signed by two of three Broomfield Election Canvass Board members – Candelarie and Canvass Board Joan Stern-Murahata, who worked on the campaign for the fracking ban.  Canvass Board member Marty Robinson refused to sign the recount certification.

Broomfield election officials have been accused of numerous election violations that were detailed in a scathing report by Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s office.  Last month, Marilyn Marks of Citizen Center filed a detailed complaint with the Secretary of State’s office and two lawsuits were filed by BBEC.

On behalf of Broomfield, Tuthill filed a lawsuit against Marks to block her access to public election records. The case was heard Monday by Wasserman who allotted 10 days for the both parties to file summary arguments.

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

12 Responses to Box of Stashed Ballots Could Invalidate Contested Broomfield Election

  1. Bob Terry
    January 8, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    I presume there is not guilt or shame by the Democratic Party ..there is no guilt or shame by those who subverted any election results.. Fair election to the Democrats, is “We won by any means necessary” We really don’t care whether this is valid or fair, whether underhanded or by coercion, or out and out fraud. We the democratic Party and we will take over as needed… People is this a Party or a position you want to bow too. Our way or No Way…and really deep down we don’t give a flying “F” whether you agree or not.
    I don’t want this type of government, Local, State or Federal (RULING ) governing this way. There is so much Contempt from the is Party..DeGette Polis, Heath, Hickenlooper, Udall, Bennett..ousted people Giron, Hudak , Morse …Look at the Federal level..there are the same that say screw you…this is How you’ll live …
    Ferradino..another… When a republican asked a democrat lets work on this election reform…”comment” Not interested…BUT this Bitch till hell won’t have it when turned on ‘em…Your interst is no interest to them if its flies in the face of Party and agenda..
    They need a bum’s rush.. out of Colorado and out of US poitics…

    • Bob Simpson
      January 8, 2014 at 3:48 pm

      Bob, I like your moxy! We the People need our own campaign/slogan for 2014. I think “Fire The Liars” would serve us well.
      At the Federal level our Colorado political Liars are: Udall, DeGette, Polis, Perlmutter and coming in 2016, Bennet.

  2. Tom
    January 8, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    This is very disturbing.

    How can they either lose or find ballots?

    This has an appearance of voter fraud.

    Somebody needs to be fired and/or jailed.

  3. Shredder
    January 8, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Every vote counts.
    Well not in Broomfield.

  4. bob
    January 8, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    this is just another example of the massive corruption that has taken over the democratic party. union thugs one and all

  5. Russ
    January 8, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    My grandfather voted Republican his entire life but since he died 4 years ago he now votes Democrat.

    The more wins by Democrats, the more fraud seems to appear. I guess when morals and values aren’t an issue, no guilt in cheating.

  6. Winston Smith
    January 8, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    Sadly, this is going on everywhere. That’s one reason I’ve been against mail-in ballots, and frankly that’s why the Left-Wing is for mail-in ballots.
    It’s funny, I don’t trust either left or right, however as a voter not tied to either party, I just distrust the democrats the most. The point is, I know there are good people who are Democrats, however I’ve found them very uninformed and gullible, believing everything they’re told by the media. Climate change would be a good example.

  7. Josh C.
    January 9, 2014 at 8:22 am

    I have been saying this all along, the old gray hairs control our destiny. No not at the voting box, at the counting booth…

  8. Conservative
    January 9, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Couple these shenanigans with the Democrats “new election laws” and November should be beyond fun.

    “Lie, cheat and steal” because the “ends justify the means” is the only way many democrats and their ideology can win.

    As ordinary citizens we all need to get involved. Be on the lookout for volunteer opportunities if you value the system.

  9. KmikeB
    January 9, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    The entire state’s voting procedures and validation process needs to be verified by an outside auditor. I often wondered if my votes for the past thirty years have been actually counted at all.

  10. Dr Nick R.
    January 9, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    I’m sure it’s safe to assume that these are all Gimmedats?

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