Very few people even know that county canvass boards exist or that they oversee the health of an election. Elections are administered by the county clerk, and each county’s canvass board acts as an auditor, verifying the processes and certifying the results.
Currently canvass boards are selected by the county chairs of major political parties. The new rules would allow the county clerk to pick canvass board members for the minor political parties, effectively “rubber stamping” the clerk’s agenda . The state chairs are united in their conviction that independently appointed canvass board members are critical to the integrity of elections.
Jeff Orrok, State Chair of the Libertarian Party of Colorado said, “As much as we would like to have representation on the canvass boards, to have the clerks pick canvass board members for us violates our First Amendment right of association and negates the primary reason for being a political party in the first place.”
Bill Bartlett, Chairman of the Colorado State Green Party, said, “The proposed rules threaten to undermine the impartiality of the canvas board, and its effectiveness as a tool to keep our democracy open and honest.”
Douglas Campbell, State Chairman of the American Constitution Party (now a major political party), said, “The purpose of rules is to implement statutes. Secretary Gessler’s proposals are an attempt to undermine legislative authority. Legislative principle states that legislation can only be modified by the level of government that created it.”
The three state chairs agree the elections belong to the people, not to the government. Bill Bartlett adds, “With a contentious election approaching, we feel it is our responsibility as leaders to maintain democratic, verifiable, elections… supervised by citizens, as intended by the founders.”
The rule-making hearing is July 23, 2012 at 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. The media, voters and candidates are encouraged to attend this public meeting to communicate the importance of independent citizen oversight in Colorado’s elections.