STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING
ELECTION REFORM COMMISSION
|Time:||09:32 AM to 05:07 PM|
|This Meeting was called to order by|
|This Report was prepared by|
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X = Present, E = Excused, A = Absent, * = Present after roll call
|Bills Addressed: ||Action Taken:|
|Welcome and Introduction of Members|
Discussion Regarding Commission Organization and Charge
Setting of Committee Schedule
Organization of Subcommittees
Witness Testimony and/or Committee Discussion Only
Witness Testimony and/or Committee Discussion Only
09:32 AM -- Welcome and Introduction of Members
Senator Ken Gordon, chair, provided opening comments regarding the Election Reform Commission and its charge, and provided some general background on the commission's proceedings. Senator Gordon then turned the floor over to the members of the commission for introductions. Commissioner Stephanie O'Malley introduced herself and discussed her background in elections. Commissioner O'Malley then discussed the challenges encountered by her office during the recent general election, and certain issues that the commission should address. Commissioner Scott Gessler introduced himself and provided his background, and discussed certain issues relating to elections. Commissioner Paul Hultin introduced himself and provided his background as it pertains to elections.
Commissioner Patti Nickell introduced herself and provided her background, and discussed certain issues that the commissioner should address. Commissioner Scott Doyle introduced himself and discussed his background, and discussed the recent general election. Commissioner Doyle then described his vision for the commission and elections in Colorado. Commissioner Bill Hobbs introduced himself and provided his election-related background, and discussed issues that should be addressed by the commission.
Commissioner Scott Martinez introduced himself and provided his election-related background. Commissioner Martinez then discussed issues of importance to the commission's charge. Commissioner Sally Misare introduced herself and discussed her work as the Castle Rock Town Clerk. Commissioner Bob Balink introduced himself and discussed subjects that may be of interest to the commission as it discharges its duties.
Commissioner Mark Baisley introduced himself and provided his professional background as it pertains to elections. Senator Gordon introduced himself and discussed his background regarding election-related issues. Senator Gordon then discussed issues of importance to the commission, and provided some thoughts regarding the legislature.
10:09 AM -- Discussion Regarding Commission Organization and Charge
Mr. Bo Pogue, Legislative Council Staff, walked the commission through a number of resources contained in the binders received by the commission members (a copy of the binder is on file with Legislative Council Staff).
Senator Gordon discussed using Mason's Rules of Order to conduct the commission's duties, and selected Commissioner Hobbs as the Vice-Chair. Senator Gordon then discussed the potential for creating subcommittees to concentrate on specific issues, and proposed a number of subcommittees. Commissioner Baisley discussed the potential for creating a technology subcommittee. Mr. Hultin discussed creating a subcommittee for issues of transparency. Discussion ensued regarding the potential for bundling these ideas under the umbrella of integrity. Commissioner O'Malley discussed the need to open a dialogue regarding voting uniformity. Commissioner Balink discussed the various ideas proposed for creating subcommittees, and offered the idea of creating a process subcommittee to address process-related issues, as well as miscellaneous issues. Commissioner Martinez proposed splitting a technology subcommittee into two or three working groups. Discussion followed regarding the short- and long-range goals of the Election Reform Commission.
Discussion continued regarding the goals of the commission and the potential for creating a permanent Election Reform Commission.
The commission recessed.
The commission returned to order. The commission returned to discussing the creation of subcommittees. The three subcommittees proposed were: Technology and Auditing, Registration and Database, and
Uniformity and Simplification. Discussion ensued regarding the potential for creating these three subcommittees, and the subject matter to be considered within each.
10:50 AM -- Setting of Committee Schedule
Senator Gordon led a discussion regarding the commission's schedule. Senator Gordon proposed having another meeting of the commission, giving subcommittees a time period to concentrate on its duties, and regathering the full commission to vote on proposals made by the subcommittees in anticipation of creating the report. Discussion ensued regarding the conduct and recording of subcommittee meetings. Discussion returned to the commission's schedule, specific dates for meeting, and the potential for subcommittees to meet before the next general meeting. The commission determined December 2nd as the next meeting date for the full commission. Commissioner Hobbs discussed a series of meetings that the Secretary of State will be holding in December regarding the recent election, and the potential for presenting a report to the full commission. A second full commission meeting was set for Tuesday, December 16th.
Discussion continued regarding the commission's meeting schedule.
The commission recessed for lunch.
01:01 PM -- Organization of Subcommittees
Senator Gordon returned the commission to order. Senator Gordon announced the roster of the three subcommittees, and discussed the organization of the subcommittees.
01:07 PM -- Public Testimony
The following persons testified before the Election Reform Commission:
01:08 PM -- Ms. Jenny Flanagan, representing Colorado Common Cause, provided background on the mission and work of her organization as it pertains to elections. Commission members received a memorandum outlining certain issues that Common Cause feels the commission should address, prepared by Ms. Flanagan (Attachment A). Ms. Flanagan discussed the issues highlighted in the memorandum.
Ms. Flanagan continued to brief the commission on the issues highlighted in Attachment A. Ms. Flanagan responded to questions regarding the number of voters removed from the voter rolls by the Secretary of State during the run-up to the recent general election, and the reasons for the removals. Ms. Flanagan responded to further questions regarding potential violations of law by the Secretary of State, and the impact of photo identification requirements for voting in Colorado on voter disenfranchisement. Discussion ensued regarding photo identification requirements for voters in other states, as compared to Colorado.
01:26 PM -- Ms. Faith Gross, representing the Coalition for People with Disabilities and Older People, testified before the commission, concentrating on issues of voter access. Ms. Gross discussed problems encountered by certain populations as they attempt to vote, and the state of accessibility at polling places. Ms. Gross responded to questions regarding the reasons that certain populations do not have identification on their persons, and the types of access barriers encountered by individuals at polling places. Ms. Gross responded to further questions regarding the impact of voter identification requirements on voters with disabilities, and the potential for waiving identification requirements for those with disabilities.
Ms. Gross returned to discussing accessibility at polling places, and the number of counties that are not in compliance with accessiblity requirements. Ms. Gross responded to questions regarding the specific types of voting technology used in Colorado that are not in compliance with federal guidelines pertaining to disability access.
01:40 PM -- Mr. Jeff Cahoon, representing Coloradans for Voting Integrity, testified before the commission. Mr. Cahoon discussed the integrity of the voting process in Boulder County, and problems encountered in the county during the most recent elections. Mr. Cahoon then discussed potential solutions to such problems, and the types of systems that should be used in elections. Mr. Cahoon responded to questions regarding the reason for resorting to a hand count in Boulder County during the most recent election, and the prevalence of the problems associated with the hand count in other counties.
Mr. Cahoon responded to questions regarding the ability of counties to enlist volunteers to assist with elections, and deficiencies in election systems that make elections less secure and verifiable in the eyes of the public.
01:56 PM -- Ms. Hillary Hall, Boulder County Clerk and Recorder, testified before the commission. Ms. Hall discussed the election audit process, and problems encountered in Boulder County in the recent general election that led to an audit. Ms. Hall then discussed the financing of elections. Ms. Hall responded to questions regarding the process by which counting problems were discovered in Boulder County, and the prevalence of under-and over-voting in Boulder County. Discussion ensued regarding the voting equipment used in Boulder County and the cost of elections.
Ms. Hall responded to questions regarding the printing vendor used by Boulder County for ballots, and the auditing process in Boulder County. Discussion returned to the technical reason for the problems encountered by Boulder County during the most recent election.
02:12 PM -- Mr. Harvie Branscomb, representing Coloradans for Voting Integrity and the Colorado Voter Group, testified before the commission. Mr. Branscomb discussed technological problems encountered in elections in recent years, his experience in the area of voting technology, and potential remedies for problems associated with voting technology. Mr. Branscomb then discussed the level of success during the recent election with regard to several issues, the need for increased transparency in elections, and the need for the commission to seek assistance with technology issues as it addresses election reform.
Mr. Branscomb clarified certain technology-related issues, including those encountered recently in Boulder County, posed a series of questions for the commission's consideration, and provided commentary for each of the questions. Mr. Branscomb discussed the ability of the commission to assist in effecting election reform in anticipation of future elections.
Mr. Branscomb continued his testimony, returning to the subject of voting transparency, and addressing the issue of voter registration. Mr. Branscomb responded to questions regarding deficiencies in voting transparency.
02:38 PM -- Ms. Mary Eberle, representing Coloradans for Voting Integrity, testified before the commission. Commission members received a letter addressed to Mr. Wayne Munster of the Department of State regarding counting of paper ballots during the 2008 general election (Attachment B), a booklet entitled "Toolkit 2008: Pocket Guide to Election Protection" published by BlackBoxVoting.org, and a DVD film entitled "STealing America: Vote by Vote" (a copy of the booklet and DVD are on file with Legislative Council Staff). Ms. Eberle discussed the reason for the large use of mail-in voting during the recent election, her preference for hand counting election results, and the cost of conducting hand counts. Ms. Eberle discussed potential ways of making early voting more appealing to voters. Ms. Eberle responded to questions regarding the ability to employ punch cards in early voting. Ms. Eberle discussed the potential for random hand counting of election results to increase voting security.
02:47 PM -- Mr. Joe Richey, representing Coloradans for Voting Integrity, testified before the commission. Mr. Richey discussed ways in which the number of election judges can be increased, the potential for increasing voting franchise, hand counting of election results, and other issues. Mr. Richey then discussed voting systems contracts with private vendors in Colorado, and the potential for changing the way the state and its subdivisions contracts with vendors.
02:55 PM -- Mr. Daniel Martin, representing himself, testified before the commission. Commission members received an outline of Mr. Martin's testimony (Attachment C). Mr. Martin discussed his work as an elections volunteer in Boulder County, and explained problems with devices used in elections in most counties in Colorado.
The committee recessed.
The commission returned to order.
03:12 PM -- Ms. Aimee Rathburn, representing herself, testified before the commission. Ms. Rathburn discussed certain failures in the ability to clean up the voter registration rolls, and deficiencies on the part of certain voting machine vendors.
03:14 PM -- Mr. Robert Bardwell, representing Bardwell Consulting, testified before the commission. Mr. Bardwell discussed the election auditing process. Committee members received a table showing the inadequacies of Colorado's election auditing process (Attachment D). Mr. Bardwell interpreted the table for the commission. Mr. Bardwell responded to questions regarding his involvement in Voting Rights Act litigation originating in the San Luis Valley, and the importance of precinct-level data in the litigation. Mr. Bardwell responded to further questions regarding statistical analysis as it applies to elections auditing.
Discussion ensued regarding the potential for an expert in the field to help craft statutory language that describes a statistically sound elections audit process.
03:27 PM -- Ms. Jennifer Solsky testified before the commission. Ms. Solsky provided her impression of the voting system in the United States, and discussed the failures of voting technology and its ramifications.
03:32 PM -- Ms. Margit Johansson, representing Coloradans for Voting Integrity, testified before the commission. Commission members received copies of a letter to Mike Coffman, Secretary of State, regarding post-election audits (Attachment E). Ms. Johansson discussed the relationship between the state, election officials, and election technology vendors, and the issue of voting by overseas voters, including members of the military. Ms. Johansson also discussed the potential for enacting effective elections legislation at the state level.
03:40 PM -- Ms. Angie Layton, representing herself, testified before the commission. Ms. Layton suggested requiring that certain information on voting and voting rights be included in the Colorado Bluebook, and ways to increase voter participation. Ms. Layton responded to questions regarding the specific type of information she feels belongs in the Bluebook, and discussed an example of a situation where additional information may have helped an individual to vote.
03:44 PM -- Ms. Claudia Kuhns, representing the Public Integrity Project, testified before the commission. Commission members received a packet of information entitled "Flawed Testing of Voting Systems" (Attachment F). Ms. Kuhns discussed failures with the voting systems testing process, and provided examples of incidents of voting technology failures and flawed systems. Ms. Kuhns responded to questions regarding the relationship between voting system failures in other states and the technology used in Colorado.
03:50 PM -- Mr. Dan Leftwich testified before the commission. Mr. Leftwich discussed the inefficiencies of Colorado's election auditing procedures. Commission members received a statement of position regarding post-election audits, prepared by Mr. Leftwich (Attachment G). Mr. Leftwich discussed his work in the area of voting security, and the methods of fighting attacks on voting technology for the purpose of committing vote fraud. Discussion ensued regarding the potential for crafting legislation to address elections auditing.
03:58 PM -- Ms. Andie Yahr, representing herself, testified before the commission. Commission members received a statement of position regarding certain elections-related issues, prepared by Ms. Yahr (Attachment H). Ms. Yahr briefed the commission on the position statement. Ms. Yahr discussed the need to strengthen ethical standards pertaining to the conduct of elections, and provided specific examples of ethics breeches in the Department of State. Ms. Yahr then detailed a number of proposals for strengthening ethical standards, as well as methods to increase transparency and oversight in elections.
Ms. Yahr continued to provide suggestions for strengthening transparency and oversight in elections.
04:10 PM -- Mr. Chris Beall, representing the Colorado Democratic Party, testified before the commission. Mr. Beall discussed the party's poll-watching efforts during the recent election, and his personal impressions of equipment failures during the election. Mr. Beall also discussed issues at polling places that led to the use of provisional ballots, and other polling place issues. Mr. Beall then discussed methods for increasing volunteerism during elections.
Discussion ensued regarding the treatment and perception of provisional ballots during the recent election. Discussion followed regarding public and volunteer participation in assisting with elections.
04:28 PM -- Mr. Wayne Pretti, representing himself, testified before the commission. Commission members received copies of Mr. Pretti's testimony (Attachment I). Mr. Pretti discussed his experiences with early voting and the use of an electronic voting machine, and encouraged the use of electronic voting. Mr. Pretti then discussed the recent challenge by Common Cause to the Secretary of State's removal of registrations from the voter rolls, and efforts to moved toward mandatory mail-in voting. Mr. Pretti responded to questions regarding statements in the press pertaining to specific numbers of registrations removed from the voter rolls in the run-up to the election.
04:39 PM -- Ms. Martha Tierney representing the Colorado Democratic Party, testified before the commission. Ms. Tierney suggested centralizing elections processes at the state level within the Department of State to reduce disparate treatment resulting from differing practices and interpretation of rules, and cited examples of such disparate treatment. Ms. Tierney then suggested centralizing training for election judges, and discussed how the current process of election judge training results in disparate treatment. Ms. Tierney next discussed the use of provisional ballots.
Ms. Tierney suggested standardizing mail-ballot drop off and poll-watching rules. Discussion ensued regarding equal protection issues.
04:52 PM -- Dr. Charles Corry, representing the Equal Justice Foundation, testified before the commission. Dr. Corry explained his background and discussed the importance of transparency in elections, and cited specific examples of failures in transparency. Dr. Corry addressed the issue of post-elections audits. Dr. Corry then discussed issues of security regarding voting technology, and trust in the elections system. Dr. Corry responded to questions regarding ways to improve the Secretary of State's voter database. Discussion ensued regarding media access to polling places during voting in El Paso County.
Senator Gordon provided closing remarks regarding the day's proceedings.
The commission adjourned.