BOULDER, Colo. (AP/CBS4) – Secretary of State Scott Gessler went to Boulder on Tuesday to address his concerns that county officials aren’t being fair with Republican election judges.
The Boulder Daily Camera reported Gessler visited the heavily Democratic area to speak with County Clerk Hillary Hall, who did not immediately comment about the meeting.READ MORE: Coloradans Kim Dobson And Ashley Brasovan Take Top Spots In Mount Washington Road Race
Gessler, a Republican, said afterward that some Boulder County election judges listed as Republicans recently changed their registration from Democratic. It was not immediately clear how many judges had done so, or why.
“Unfortunately there is a real sense of distrust here in Boulder because the election, a lot of the election workers, election judges, my concern is that there’s been discrimination against Republicans here in this county,” said Gessler.
County GOP Chairwoman Ellyn Hilliard raised concerns last week about the lack of Republican representation among election judge teams, particularly those verifying signatures on mail-in ballots the county has been processing over the last few weeks.
Gessler said Tuesday his main concern was with fairness and transparency.
“We’ve had a lot of problems in the county here,” he said. “At the moment, the county is not allowing election watchers to review signatures in the secondary signature review process.”
Watchers from each party observe a Republican election judge and Democratic election judge verify that the signatures on the mail-in ballots match signatures in the database. If the Republican and Democratic judges disagree, the signature is kicked back to a second set of judges with their screen pointed away from election watchers.
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Republicans say the watchers should be able to view the second verification.
“I wouldn’t say he went so far as to come right out and issue an ultimatum. He did definitely imply that we needed to listen to what he had to say,” said Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall.
Hall said they would modify their process to keep it from becoming an even more political issue.
“It’s just partisan politics. I think they’re laying some ground work in case the elections close,” said Hall.
Denver-based attorney and Republican election watcher Michael Davis filed a lawsuit in Boulder District Court on Monday claiming Hall had not allowed poll watchers to properly view the signature verification process. Judge Patrick Butler dismissed the suit a few hours after it was filed.
Gessler said a representative from his office is at the county clerk’s office observing ballot processing and will stay at the site throughout the day.
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