Marks questions marks: Colorado democracy black and blue

“Where their is smoke there is fire”.  We say, “Where there is black and blue there is a victim” and “When it quacks like a cover up, suspicion is justified”.  In this case we have ballots filled-in in black and blue with cross-outs. We suspect Colorado democracy is the victim.  From the Colorado Statesman:  State may or may not be probing ballot fraud in Chaffee County <read>

Colorado elections watchers who have been following the zig-zagging, on-again, off-again case of the 2012 Republican Primary Chaffee County ballots completed half in blue and half in black ink may get an answer soon whether or not state officials believe the ballots are evidence of election fraud.

Or they may get no answer at all…

According to the secretary of state’s office, 3,235 ballots were cast in the county election. Of those, 140 were marked partly in blue and partly in black ink, and another 43 were marked in varying ways — fully blackened squares side by side with dashed-off Xs, or neatly filled-in boxes alongside boxes scribbled over with messy scrawls — the kind of markings that show inconsistency and can raise suspicion that more than one person filled out a ballot.

In the fall of 2012 Marilyn Marks, a high-profile election integrity activist and proud thorn-in-the-side to election administrators, filed an open records request for ballots from several counties. She was concerned with the rules giving the public access to voted ballots and whether ballots could be traced to individual voters, in effect undermining the right to cast a secret ballot.

Chaffee County delivered color images of its ballots to Marks. And the images shocked her.

“They were so weird,” she said. “Here was one that was completed half in blue and then half in black. Well that’s odd, I think and move on. Then there’s another one. Then another one. What is going on here? I’m sure I said it out loud to myself.”

Marks showed the images to her lawyer and to fellow election activists, who agreed they were weird, and then she filed a complaint with the secretary of state

I agree that this is highly suspicious.  I’ll go beyond that, based on my experience, this seems to be almost guaranteed fraud, likely by insiders after the fact.

I have personally reviewed thousands of ballots, perhaps 30,000, and been in the room while perhaps 100,000 have been reviewed by others in exactly 100 post-election audit counting sessions, about 10 recanvasses, as central-count Absentee Moderator, and leading the recount of 25,000 ballots in Bridgeport. I have seen a number of strange marks on ballots – they are usually brought to the attention of others in the room as they are so interesting and need adjudication to determine voters intent.  I have no statistics on strange marks, yet 43/3,235 seems possible, yet high.  Yet, I do not recall a single ballot in two colors or pen and pencil.  So, 140/3,235 all in blue and black is way out of line with experience.

It seems there is some official agreement that this is more than suspicious:

A few weeks later, in the middle of October, secretary of state’s office investigator Michael Hagihara found himself visiting the Chaffee County clerk’s office, where he conducted a two-day investigation. He talked to the elections staff, studied voted ballots, sealed up elections office ballpoints with the ballots and reviewed video of the elections staffers tallying the votes.

In an October 24, 2012, memo, Hagihara reported on the investigation for Secretary of State Scott Gessler, Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert and Director of Elections Judd Choate. Hagihara did not believe the county elections administration staff was to blame for any irregularities — but he did find irregularities. He determined that 140 ballots out of roughly 3,235 were filled out partly with blue and partly with black ink. He said those ballots “created serious questions as to the legitimacy of the votes cast.

Read the entire article. The questions now are if anything is being investigated and if anything will be officially resolved.

Once again, a blow to those who claim there  is no voting fraud.  A further justification of counting votes by scanner in public in polling places, limiting mail-in voting, and  limiting central scanning, while  arguing for requiring adversarial election officials in every operation.

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