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Hearings raise election integrity questions in Colorado

By | December 6th, 2012

Claims of Election Day irregularities, long lines and potential voter fraud in Arapahoe County filled a 90-minute Colorado Secretary of State hearing on Wednesday, held at the Southwest Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce in Centennial.

Republican County Chairwoman Joy Hoffman said she had heard from election judges of an instance of double voting by people who cast a mail-in ballot at one address – and an Election Day ballot at a polling location using a different address. She said some polling locations had two and three-hour lines.

At Aurora’s CentrePoint Plaza vote center, people in lines were still waiting to vote at 8 p.m, she said. By law, the polls were scheduled to close statewide at 7 p.m.

Some people testified that they saw buses full of people flooding the vote centers – one after another – at locations such as Smoky Hill, CentrePoint and Mission Viejo – all on the eastern side of Arapahoe County. Vote centers are county-wide voting stations that were purportedly designed for voter convenience and to reduce personnel costs associated with more traditional precinct level voting, which the county abandoned in 2010. Nov. 6 was thus the first presidential election in Arapahoe County in which vote centers were exclusively used.

In its report on the hearing, Westword noted

“Gessler also heard a lot of questions about mail-in ballots potentially being intercepted, with some worrying about individuals they observed dropping off piles of mail ballots in bulk — a red flag for fraud, they say. Several also raised questions about busloads of people going to polling sites, suggesting that tactics could be helping people to vote twice or clog up lines at vote centers to stop legitimate voters.”

The hearing in Centennial was the second of two on Wednesday. The first was in Boulder County and that hearing presented distinct concerns about mail-in voting, signature verification, and whether the county’s results should be certified, according to The Boulder Daily Camera. [See video above.]

Secretary of State Scott Gessler announced on Nov. 30 that his office would “hold public meetings, looking for citizen feedback on the recent election and soliciting changes or improvements that can be made for future elections.” Hearings were to continue today in Pueblo and Colorado Springs. One in Denver is scheduled for Wednesday.

“By many measures, the November election was a success. But there is always room for improvement,” Gessler said in a statement. “We want to hear from Coloradans about their experiences and how we can make our elections even better going forward.”

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