As part of the preparation for the 2021 Coordinated Election, the Chaffee County Clerk and Recorder’s Office has scheduled the Logic and Accuracy Test (LAT) for 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, September 28, 2021.
As of 5:00 p.m. Monday, Sept. 27, appointed watchers have had to submit their Certificate of Appointment form and a copy of their current registration record from the Secretary of State’s website, GoVoteColorado.gov, to satisfy the eligibility-confirmation requirement (Rule 8.1.2, 8.1.3).
The County Clerk’s Office has reported fielding a lot of questions regarding watchers for the election. So that everyone the same information:
- This election is a non-partisan election. Statute 1-7-107, Watchers at nonpartisan elections, reads, “Candidates for office in nonpartisan elections, and proponents of a ballot issue, are entitled to appoint one person to act as a watcher in every polling place in which they are a candidate or in which the issue is on the ballot.”
- The Secretary of State has also promulgated rules for watchers, https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/rule_making/CurrentRules/8CCR1505-1/Rule8.pdf
- The Secretary’s Office has a FAQ page that has a lot of helpful information, https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/watchers.html
- The link to complete election information is: https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/electionInfo.html?menuheaders=5
Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell has confirmed that the LAT is also open to the public and space will be limited. The county clerk’s office will draw names for observers and cycle through everyone, drawing more names after a certain amount of time.
“We will only have room for three observers at a time as the Designated Election Officials from the coordinating entities will be participating in the test and the room maximum number is 10,” she explained. “Everyone in the room will be required to wear a mask. We all will maintain a distance of 6 feet from each other.”
The Chaffee County Clerk and Recorders Office plans to put out a schedule of election activities for the lead-up to the Nov. 2 elections and notes that “Things will get progressively busier after the ballots drop on October 8. Keep in mind, many election activities depend on workload and it is a very fluid situation”
She notes that election watchers can be assigned for each activity, but that the space limitation of 10 total people in the ballot processing room (which includes staff, election judges, and watchers) must be followed. “As of now, we anticipate being able to accommodate 5 watchers at a time in our vote centers.”
Mitchell highlighted some conduct rules for watchers. Rule 8.14 A county clerk must revoke the certificate of a watcher who:
- 8.14.1 Personally interrupts or disrupts the processing, verification, and counting of any ballots or any other stage of the election, including lodging repeated challenges of voters or mail ballots on bases that are not authorized by statute or these Rules after being advised that such bases are not authorized.
- 8.14.2 Writes down any ballot numbers or any other personally identifying information about the electors.
- 8.14.3 Touches or handles the official signature cards, ballots, mail ballot envelopes, provisional ballot envelopes, voting or counting machines, or machine components.
- 8.14.4 Interferes with the orderly conduct of any election process, including the issuance of ballots, receiving of ballots, and voting or counting of ballots.
- 8.14.5 Communicates with election judges about that judge’s duties while that election judge is currently on duty, unless the judge is the designated watcher contact.
- 8.14.6 Uses a mobile phone or other electronic device to make or receive an audio or video communication in any polling location or other place election activities are conducted.
- 8.14.7 Uses any electronic device to take or record pictures, video, or audio in any polling location or other place election activities are conducted.
- 8.14.8 Has in their open and visible possession any mobile phone or other electronic device while watching election activities where voters’ confidential or personally identifiable information is within view.
- 8.14.9 Attempts to determine how any elector voted.
- 8.14.10 Discloses or records any confidential voter information as defined in section 24-72- 204(8), C.R.S., that he or she may observe.
- 8.14.11 Discloses any results before the polls have closed.
- 8.14.12 Attempts to intimidate or interfere with an election judge or other election officials during the discharge of that judge or official’s duties.
Basically, watchers watch election activities, they don’t interrupt the process, take pictures or video, or audio record in the space.
If the rules are broken, the watcher will be removed, their watcher certificate will be revoked for the entire election, and the appointing entity will be contacted. Mitchell says she has assured the Testing Board members that they will be able to concentrate on their work and not have interruptions. There will be forms available for watchers to write out questions to be answered so everyone can have the same information.