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Submitted to John Fryar, Longmont Times Call and Boulder Daily Camera reporter on 11-26-16 12:22 p.m.

Response to Boulder County Clerk’s Final Official Results Available for 2016 General Election

Peg Cage, Chairman, Boulder County Republicans

The Boulder County Clerk and her staff have completed a herculean effort to create, mail, collect, sort and tally the ballots for the 2016 General Election.  Their successful efforts to find, hire and train over a hundred Republican Election Judges for the election season were amazing, and very much appreciated by me and Boulder County Republicans (BCR).  I feel that for the most part, the taxpayers are well served by the clerk’s staff, who abandon their personal lives for months at a time to facilitate the many aspects of conducting an election.  However, the BCR canvass board members decided not to certify the 2016 General Election results. 

One BCR canvass board member, Cathy Jarrett, has served as an election judge in many stages of ballot processing, was on the Logic and Accuracy Testing committee prior to the election and carefully watched the post-election audit of the scanning and tallying processes.  Our other canvass board member, Marty Neilson, also worked the election and watched the audit, but was unable to attend the final meeting, so I appointed Al Kolwicz in her place.  Mr. Kolwicz is the Chairman of the BCR Election Integrity Team.  None of our board members found any problems with the audit and Jarrett and Kolwicz signed off on the audit.

Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall, in her report on the Final Official Results, stated that “It is a complete disservice to our community and to the hundreds of election judges and staff members who have invested thousands of hours planning and conducting our election to use the certification process as a vehicle to promote a personal agenda, which is what today’s action was.”  She also stated that our members violated the oaths they took when joining the canvass board and that the claims they made to justify not certifying the election were erroneous, baseless, without merit and had no evidence to back them up. 

I can assure you that if elections were simply about crunching numbers and balancing the received versus the counted ballot envelopes, we would have had no problem certifying the election.  It would have been much easier for Jarrett and Kolwicz to simply sign the certificate and head off to celebrate Thanksgiving Day, but after their in-depth study of the election and much soul-searching, they did not feel they would be fulfilling their sworn duty to the voters in Boulder County.  The oath they took stated that they would “faithfully perform the duties required of a member of the county canvass board,” which I believe they did.  They did not walk into the canvass board meeting and decide to cause trouble for the clerk and her hard-working staff. 

For years, members of the BCR Election Integrity Team have worked closely with the clerk, the legislature, the Secretary of State (SOS) and a larger, bipartisan group of election integrity advocates with the express purposes of being able to certify this election and providing voters the assurance of election integrity.  Kolwicz and his team have been preparing for months to be able to take the data provided by the clerk on Monday and use the short 22 hours they were given to look at it and verify accuracy before the canvass board met on Tuesday.  In August, as he was considering the data that the clerk had provided to the canvass board for the Primary Election, Kolwicz created a list of items that they had not received then, but that would be needed to quickly crunch the General Election data.  He never received some of the critical items, as he details in the BCR Minority Report on the Canvass Board.   

The “personal agenda” that Kolwicz and Jarrett had going into the canvass board meeting was to represent the voters, the candidates and the issue committees and assure that an “accurate and verifiable determination of the count” of the election results could be presented to the SOS for certification of the general election. 

Yes, we have objections to the Colorado elections process.  We believe that the new laws mandating ease and convenience of voting have diminished election integrity and put a false emphasis on the physical ballots and the governmental agencies that must deal with them.  With all of the software, machinery and personnel it now takes a county clerk to run an election and the fact that voting continues for weeks, it is easy to start thinking that the election is all about the ballots.  An election is not all about the ballots.  An election is all about the voters.  Who do the voters want to represent them in the various governments under which they live?  What laws and taxes will they have?  The ballot is simply the mechanism that the voters use to convey their wishes to the clerks for tabulation.

Prior to the 2013 legislation, election judges verified the eligibility of each voter in each precinct.  The voter received the correct ballot style for their residential address, recorded their vote by marking on their ballot and then personally cast it into the ballot box.  At the end of the day, the election judges reconciled the number of ballots handed out to the number of ballots that had been cast into the ballot box, signed the judges’ affidavit and presented it with the ballots to the clerk for tallying.  The canvass board could refer directly to the judges’ affidavits to confirm that only eligible voters had cast ballots, that each voter had cast the correct ballot, and that there were no more ballots cast per precinct than there were eligible voters living in each precinct.

No, we did not certify the Primary Election.  The certificate our members were asked to sign stated that they had reconciled “the ballots cast in an election to confirm that the number of ballots counted in that election does not exceed the number of ballots cast in that election.”  Since there are now so many legal ways for a voter to “cast” their ballot, and no way for an election judge or the clerk to record that incident of casting, the canvass board members could not in good conscience confirm that they had completed that duty. 

Since the Primary, we have worked with the Secretary of State to try and rectify the “ballots cast” problem.  Unfortunately, rather than creating a way to assure the canvass board that only eligible voters – and that all eligible voters – were able to “cast” their ballots in a manner that was easily confirmed, the SOS has chosen to redefine the term “ballots cast.”  Throughout the 500+ page election statute book, the term “cast” is used to describe the action of the voter putting his ballot into a ballot box and relinquishing control of his ballot into the care of the judges.  The new definition, Rule 1.1.8, states that: “Ballots Cast” means the total number of ballots received by the county clerk in an election.  “Ballots Cast” does not include mail ballot envelopes returned to the county clerk by the U.S. Postal Service as undeliverable.  We feel that this definition is unfortunate because it takes a historically accepted term describing a voter’s action and redefines it to be an action determined by the clerk.  There are at least five different categories of ballots – mail ballot, in-person ballot, provisional ballot, remote ballot (email, fax, online), and DRE (Direct-Record Electronic Voting Machine) – each category is now considered “cast” at different points of the process.  For the General Election, the canvass board members used the new definition, but the clerk was unable to inform them of the specific point in the process that the “cast ballot” count was taken.  We will continue to work to resolve this problem for the voters.

There is much work yet to be done to align Colorado’s “easy voting” laws to the tenets of election integrity.  I am encouraged to see more and more voters becoming aware of the important role they play in the election of their representatives in this American republic and in the integrity of those elections. 

Sincerely,

Peg Cage

Chairman, Boulder County Republicans
Office: 619 Ken Pratt Blvd. Longmont, CO 80501

Mailing: P.O. Box 18733, Boulder, CO 80308

PCage@bocogop.org

Statement from Peg Cage, Chairman Boulder County Republicans (BCR)

Colorado GOP SCC, Please Opt Out of the Unconstitutional “Semi-Open” Primary.  

September 20, 2017

“….a Republic - if you can keep it,” responded Dr. Benjamin Franklin to a concerned citizen.  Our nation’s new and excellent form of government was formed and framed by the Constitution. 

At the GOP State Central Committee meeting, Colorado’s grassroots representatives will face an unconscionably high bar to retain our Party’s integrity.  Because forcing political parties into open primaries is unconstitutional, Proposition 108 “allowed” for an opt-out with 75% approval of the entire SCC.  Even though, as Lord Acton said: “The will of the people cannot make just that which is unjust,” open primaries are “the will of the people” and thus endorsed by many in the GOP.

Justice Antonin Scalia said "Proposition 198 [similar to 108] forces political parties to associate with—to have their nominees, and hence their positions, determined by—those who, at best, have refused to affiliate with the party, and, at worst, have expressly affiliated with a rival. A single election in which the party nominee is selected by nonparty members could be enough to destroy the party." Justice Scalia went on to state for the Court that Proposition 198 takes away a party's "basic function" to choose its own leaders and is functionally "both severe and unnecessary."

The opt out clause could help save the Republic.  If grassroots Republicans demand the SCC votes to control our own primary elections, it will show America that Republican elected officials, State and County Party elected officers and Bonus Members can be moved to support the Party’s platform.  It might encourage the majority currently in DC to act like Republicans – repeal bad legislation and “drain the swamp.”

The Republican’s Constitution-based platform once shored up neglected principles of the Republic, united the states following a divisive Civil War and perpetuated an environment of success for the greatest nation and the most prosperous and generous people in the history of the world.  The GOP’s platform is winning nationwide.  A strong Colorado GOP should also win.  SCC members were elected to stand on our platform and win. 

According to the CRSCC Bylaws, our Purpose is:  “…to elect duly nominated or designated Republican candidates to office, to promote the principles and achieve the objectives of the Republican Party at national and state levels…”

By not opting out, Republicans reinforce the false perception that parties are government entities and subject to “public” decrees.  If we allow government to continue to run elections, we’ll continue to lose.  Colorado’s elections are uncertifiable; creating powerful government and a weak electorate.  We must elect strong Republicans to correct election laws.  For honest primaries, Republicans should run them ourselves.  The GOP’s elections should:

  1. Occur on ONE day on secret ballots with absentee ballots available by request
  2. Require affiliation, registration and residency deadlines
  3. Use printed poll books to verify the VOTER with a photo ID (not a signature on an envelope against a signature on a screen)

Two primaries and a general election are now planned for 2020, obligating the Parties to facilitate three “election seasons,” requiring hundreds of low-paid workers and volunteers for nearly TWELVE WEEKS and obtaining questionable results.  Opting out now would allow Republicans to focus more on winning elections than running elections.

Some unaffiliated and Democrat voters will still despise us whether we capitulate or stand.  Rather than fearing “public opinion” if we opt out, the GOP should fear the optics of VOTING to partake in an unconstitutional open primary.  Here’s what I’ll see:  Republicans are weak and afraid and have no intention of fighting to keep the Republic.  Republicans are okay with elected officials making laws to destroy the integrity of our elections and keeping the grassroots busy “doing elections” while they concentrate power to themselves.  Republicans don’t want elected officials to stand up against that kind of “representative.”  Republicans think conservative unaffiliated voters will vote GOP if it’s “less Republican.”  (Maybe our lack of conviction disenfranchised them in the first place!)  Republicans think people like me will continue to volunteer hundreds of hours for a Party that doesn’t take seriously their job to “keep the Republic.”  (Don’t count on it!)  Vote to opt out, please.

A video taken in January of 2012 at the Longmont Republican Women’s “New Year, New GOP” event has recently become a topic of discussion on some of Colorado’s KLZ 560 AM talk shows.  This, of course, is flattering to me, because I was instrumental in organizing the panel and I was the one asking them the question “Why should I vote for the GOP?”  I am not writing this to excuse Mr. Call, whose job it is to lead the effort to elect Republicans and who should have been able to explain our party’s superiority in a few seconds.  (Hint:  “I want to live free, and there is no better vehicle right now to stop the Progressive’s Socialist agenda than the GOP winning the majority of elections in November.”)

New Year, New GOP: Jan. 2012

The purpose of taking the video was not to provide fodder for one side of our Party to use against the other, but for posterity to look back at that one step in the GOP and Liberty’s comeback.  The name of the event was “New Year, New GOP” & the purpose was to bring people together from different walks of life and encourage us all to create a new, more Liberty-minded GOP.  We sought to begin that important election year by unifying the “old guard Republicans,” the Tea Party/Liberty Movement, and different ethnic groups under the GOP banner. Consider the panel members and what they were doing at the time - Ryan Call, the Chairman of the State Republican Party.  Tom Tancredo, a former Congressman who boldly forced national attention on our illegal immigration problem as a one-issue candidate for the Republican Presidential Nomination.  Solomon Martinez, the Chairman of the Hispanic Republicans, and Derrick Wilburn, the Founder of the Rocky Mountain Black Tea Party.  The meeting was organized and advertised in only ten days, and drew over 130 people – confirming the urgent need for unity and direction in our fight to save our country from the Democrat’s Socialist takeover. 

Obviously, both the meeting and the video failed.  The Liberty Movement did not turn out the votes needed to elect their candidate and failed to stop Ryan Call from being reelected as the Chairman.  And in the Presidential election, the old guard GOP produced candidate Mitt Romney, who had experienced but failed to promote the wonder of the American Dream.  Once again, the majority of Americans favored Obama’s message that demonizes wealth creators and glorifies himself as the great black redistributor, and the GOP failed to stop him from being reelected.

The panel members are all still hard-working leaders in the fight for Liberty.  So, if you’re looking to blame someone for the GOP’s failure in 2012 and for the apathy leading into the 2014 elections, I suggest you do what I do, and go look in the mirror.  If you are an American citizen, the individual reflected there is an integral part of “We The People,” equally endowed with the God-given rights that the American Constitution was written to protect.  That person has the responsibility to participate in creating a group of people – a government – that will work to protect each citizen’s rights and defend the nation as a whole.    

While you’re there, ask yourself what it is worth to live free, and if there is any better vehicle right now to stop the Progressive’s agenda than the GOP winning the majority of elections in November.  In 15 seconds or less, tell yourself why you should vote for the GOP.  And now look yourself in the eye and decide what you’re going to do in the next few short weeks before the ballots drop to make sure most people vote for Liberty. 

Failure, this time, is not an option.  And this time, winning is merely a step in the right direction.  The real work starts on November 5th.  We The People must unify in the fight to restore our Liberty.