Home » Blog » Is Boulder Is the Gold Standard of Election Integrity?

Is Boulder Is the Gold Standard of Election Integrity?

According to the Electoral Integrity Project, an independent project based out of Harvard University, U.S. elections since July 2012 have scored 61, the second-lowest among liberal democracies. This is on par with Mexico. This is “lower than any other long-established democracies and affluent societies.”

This low score, along with Trump’s election in 2016 caused many Democrats to worry about election integrity in the US. In 2020, many Republicans joined the ranks of Democrats in their concern.

So how safe are Boulder County Elections, which are touted as the gold standard? The intention of this page is to give you information to let you judge for yourself.

This page offers you an overview of the election process in Boulder County. This page shows the steps Boulder County takes to ensure that elections are accurate, secure, and fair.

(Note: Since this document is in process, please email Cathy with updates and/or corrections).

The process of voting in Boulder County is complex and complicated, as this long blog post will show.

Voting begins with each potential voter registering to vote through a centralized voting system managed by Colorado’s Secretary of State, Jena Griswold. Statutes governing voting in Colorado can be found at the Colorado Secretary of State website and downloaded here. This 555-page document was revised in 2022.

Colorado uses ballots that may be mailed-in or deposited in drop-boxes. Additional ballots are printed for in-person voting as well as email voting.  All ballots cast, no matter how the ballot is submitted, end up as paper ballots.  Certain overseas absentee ballots including military ballots come in via email as a .pdf (a picture of the ballot).  All of these ballots get printed out creating a paper ballot. Note: people who submit their ballots via email have waived their rights (knowingly) to an anonymous vote, which means whoever is processing those ballots in the computer system can see who the vote is for.   

In Boulder County, elections are run by the Elections Division under the direction of Boulder County Clerk & Recorder, Molly Fitzpatrick.

Before being elected County Clerk, Molly was the Organizing Director with New Era Colorado, where she managed statewide programs to register thousands of young voters in Colorado, helped voters navigate our election process, and supported the policies and administrative reforms to make democracy more accessible. She has also worked with county clerks across the state and the state legislature to improve voter access and voter education initiatives – including voter preregistration for 16- and 17-year-olds and election modernization in 2013.

Voter Registration Data – 253,360 people are registered to vote in Boulder, CO, as of November 2023.

In 2023, the population of Boulder, CO is 341,615, according to US Census.

Qualifications for Voting in Colorado

In order to vote in Boulder, you must be 18, have a valid ID, or sign an affidavit, and be a resident of Colorado, or be registered to vote. If you do not have a valid ID, election officials will let you vote a provisional ballot.

Once registered, all active registered voters are sent a ballot through the mail.

How Registration Works

Boulder voting registration is managed by the Colorado Secretary of State.

 Colorado law allows residents to register to vote as young as 16. Only active voters who are age 18 on or before Election Day will be mailed a ballot. Colorado Election Law [1] states that every public high school principal needs to appoint a staff person to help citizens register to vote while on school grounds (this person is the high school deputy registrar). The high school deputy registrar is trained in voter registration basics by their county clerk’s office (PDF).

In Colorado, anyone over the age of 18 may register to vote on the same day as the election if they go to an election center.

ePollbook = Statewide Colorado Registration and Election (SCORE).

The Colorado Department of State (CDOS) uses a centralized elections management system called Statewide Colorado Registration and Election (SCORE) to register voters. SCORE, or ePollBook as it is also known, complies with the Federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA). This centralized system has moved away from a distributed and independent voting system. CDOS serves 64 counties that now depend on CDOS for registering and tracking Colorado voters.

Think of SCORE (ePollBook) as the master system for storing and tracking all voter information. SCORE is essentially a database program that has all voter information stored in it.  It is also the system that issues ballots including replacement ballots. It’s the master system that is owned, managed, and administered by the state.  

Election judges can change almost all voter information in ePollbook.  Judges can update people’s names, birthdates, driver’s license numbers, and gender. This unchanging information is called “keyline information.”   Judges generally don’t change keyline info, but they can change it if needed.   

All other voter information in SCORE is called non-keyline data.  e.g. affiliation, phone number, residential address, mailing address, voter status (active/inactive) etc. this information is often updated during the voting process. 

SCORE (ePollbook) tracks whether or not someone has been issued and cast their ballot. 

Election judges use ePollbook to look up voter information in vote centers, to enter voter information if it’s a new voter registration, and ePollbook is used in the first step or steps of ballot processing.

  • Protect the voter information of all registered citizens
  • Maintain the integrity of the electoral process
  • Enable county election officials to administer efficient, fair, and impartial elections
  • Provide an audit capability
  • Establish stronger coordination inherent in a centralized system.

Ballot Printing and Labeling – BPMs

The BPMs system is the ballot and label printing program that integrates with ePollbook.  BPMS is important because it kicks off the tracking process for the physical documents used in the voter process: paper ballots, envelopes, and VSPC forms.  

Voter Information Forms – VSPC Forms

Voter Service and Polling Center (VSPC) Forms are voter information sheets that all people must fill out when going into a vote center to either vote in person, register to vote, get a replacement ballot etc.  The information from this form is entered in ePollbook, a software system managed by the Colorado Secretary of State.   The VSPC form serves the following functions:  

  1.  Serves as a legal document.
  2. Serves as voter’s signature record for verification. Once a person fills out the VSPC form and signs it, they’re legally responsible for the information on that sheet.
  3. Election judges (EJ) use the VSPC form as the official document for entering or changing voter information into ePollbook.  Election judges initial these documents to identify which EJ has processed the form.
  4. Election officials also rely on this document later in the voting process as a way to find errors or to reconcile issues in the voting process.  Errors can mean anything from an election judge making a mistake, to a voter misrepresenting an address etc. 

All VSPC forms receive a label from the BPMS printing system so the physical form can be tracked. 

In order to vote in person, one must fill out the VSPC Registration and Signature Card.

Colorado allows 13 different forms of voter identification.

Even if one does not have valid identification, one is still allowed to vote with a provisional ballot. A provisional voter must sign an affidavit stating  “under penalty of perjury I affirm citizenship and residency for 22 days”. It is a  Class 1 misdemeanor to affirm falsely.

  • Show  Acceptable forms of ID defined by law in the following statute:

Sect 1-1-104 (19.5) Colorado Revised Statutes  Secretary of State Rule 2.3 Revised September 18, 2018

  • The following are acceptable forms of ID:
    • (I) A valid Colorado driver’s license, except a license issued under part 5 of article 2 of title 42, C.R.S.;
    • (II) A valid identification card issued by the Department of Revenue in accordance with the requirements of part 3 of article 2 of title 42, C.R.S.;
    • (III) A valid United States passport;
    • (IV) A valid employee identification card with a photograph of the eligible elector issued by any branch, department, agency, or entity of the United States government or of this state, or by any county, municipality, board, authority, or other political subdivision of this state;
    • (V) A valid pilot’s license issued by the federal aviation administration or other authorized agency of the United States;
    • (VI) A valid United States military identification card with a photograph of the eligible elector;
    • (VII) A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the elector;
    • (VIII) A valid medicare or medicaid card issued by the United States health care financing administration;
    • (IX) A certified copy of a birth certificate for the elector issued in the United States;
    • (X) Certified documentation of naturalization;
    • (XI) A valid student identification card with a photograph of the eligible elector issued by an institution of higher education in Colorado, as defined in section 23-3.1-102(5), C.R.S .;
    • (XII) A valid veteran identification card issued by the United States department of veterans affairs veterans health administration with a photograph of the eligible elector;  or
    • (XIII) A valid identification card issued by a federally recognized tribal government certifying tribal membership.
  • (b) Any form of identification indicated in paragraph (a) of this subsection (19.5) that shows the address of the eligible elector shall be considered identification only if the address is in the state of Colorado.
  • (c) Verification that a voter is a resident of a group residential facility, as defined in subsection (18.5) of this section, shall be considered sufficient identification for the purposes of section 1-7-110(1) .
  • (d) Verification that a voter is a person committed to the department of human services and confined and eligible to register and vote shall be considered sufficient identification of such person for the purposes of section 1-2-210.5

Well before the election, Boulder County prints most of the ballots. Boulder County sends a request for bids to potential printers. In 2022, ballots were printed in Arizona. These preprinted ballots are sent out to active voters and distributed to Voting Centers for those who are newly registered, for those who prefer to vote in person, for those who have damaged or lost ballots, and for those without proper identification who wish to vote with a provisional ballot.

During the election, Vote Centers also have the capability to print out new ballots as needed.

Ballots Automatically Sent out

Boulder County residents can receive their ballots in a variety of ways. They can be automatically mailed out, picked up from a Voting Center, or from a Ballot to Go location.

While automatic mailing of ballots is not codified by law, it has been the custom for some years.

Automatically Mailed

In Boulder County, ballots are automatically mailed to all active, registered voters. An active voter is:

  • Someone who is registered to vote and whose confirmation card or previous mail ballot was not returned as undeliverable.
  • Someone who is registered to vote and has not been identified as having moved to a different state.
  • Someone who has recently registered or updated their voter registration since the last general election.

Voting Center

Voters may also pick up one of several types of ballots at a Voting Center. (See below).

Ballot to Go

Boulder County offers a Ballot-To-Go service that gives voters a new ballot when they have recently registered or want to replace a lost or damaged ballot. In the case of replacement ballots, when a new ballot is issued, Boulder County voids the ballot that was sent out. People with damaged or lost ballots are requested to tear up and discard (recycle) their damaged ballot if they find the lost ballot.

Casting a Ballot

All ballots are either physical, paper ballots, or digital ballots that are converted to paper. Only paper ballots are counted in Boulder County. (For the history of mail-in ballots, click here.)

Boulder County Ballots are collected in one of 7 ways:

  1. DROP BOX – Boulderites who receive their ballot by mail or from Voting Center may choose to drop off their paper ballots at Drop Boxes. Boulder has 18 drop boxes located around the county. In Colorado, a voter may put up to 10 people’s ballots into a Drop Box. This is called Ballot Harvesting.
  2. DRIVE THROUGH – On Election Day, voters may drive to one of several Drive Through Locations to give their ballots to Election Judges.
  3. MAIL – Boulderites may prefer to mail in their ballots. This includes Boulder residents who are out of town or overseas.
  4. EMAIL – Some people who are stationed overseas have the option to vote via email. They email a facsimile of their ballot to County officials, who then transfer the voter’s wishes into a machine which then prints out these ballots and processes them with other printed ballots.
  5. In-Person Voting: Some people may choose to vote in person at a Voting Center. There are two types of voting booths with a paper ballot.
    • 1. Direct to Paper Ballot – In House – A voter may fill in a ballot by hand similar to the ballot sent out while in the voting center.
    • 2. . Direct to Paper Ballot Carry Out: A voter may instead choose to take their ballot with them and mark their ballot outside of the Voting Center and return the ballot to the Voting Center’s Drop Box. Or, they may put their completed ballot in the mail (time permitting) or at another DropBox around the County.
    • 3. In-Person Computer to Paper Using Dominion’s ICX Voting/Printing Machines (See below).

People may choose to vote in person at Voting Centers (formally known as Voter Service and Polling Centers). In 2021 these were open for 8 days before and on election day.

EachVoting Center is staffed with several Election Judges. Boulder County hires Republican, Democrat, and Independent Election Judges.

The size of the election determines how many Voting Centers are set up. For example, during the 2020 presidential election, 20Voting Centers were set up around Boulder County. In contrast, in 2021, only fourVoting Centers were set up.

At the Voting Centers, people can register to vote and cast their ballots. At the Voting Center, voters have 4 ways to cast a ballot: 1) with a ballot that may be put into a envelop that can be mailed in; 2)with a ballot that may be put into an envelope and put into a drop box located at the Voting Center or elsewhere, 3) Using an old-fashioned polling booth that produces a flat ballot that is put into a protective sleeve and placed in a special ballot box used only for in-person voting or 4) Using an “ICX Voting” Tablets (see below) that prints out a ballot that has the voter’s selections that may then put into a sleeve and into the in-person ballot box.

ImageCast X Ballot-Marking Device – Dominion Voting Systems manufactures these ICX machines. Voters can use theseelectronic, digital tablets to fill out in-person ballots.  A voter makes their choices on the tablet and the ICX machine prints a paper ballot.  From there, the voter takes their completed ballot and places it into the physical ballot box.  The ICX machines are managed by election judges with technical capabilities.  ICX machines don’t record any information, they only fill out ballots for voters.  The ballots printed in ICX machines differ from mail-in and drop-box ballots.


If a person walks into a Vote Center without any valid identification, they are still allowed to cast a vote. In this case, people lacking valid identification may cast a provisional ballot if they sign an affidavit stating  “under penalty of perjury I affirm citizenship and residency for 22 days”. It is a  Class 1 misdemeanor to affirm falsely.

Ballot Transport

Ballots are transported from the US Mail, from Drop Boxes, and from Voting Centers. A bipartisan team of Election Judges is required to transport ballots from Drop Boxes and Voting Centers.

Once people have voted, the ballots are processed. Below is a video overview of this process:

Boulder County Clerk Molly Fitzpatrick explains the voting process.

Ballot Tracking

One of the most important components of the inbound ballot process is having a
system to track ballots as they move from one processing area to another to account for any
changes in the overall quantity.

Click here for a 25 point checklist for Best Practices for ballot accounting put out by the Brennan Center.


Once ballots arrive at the Vote Processing center, envelopes with signatures containing ballots are removed from ballot boxes and put into a Sorting Machine. Boulder County uses an Agilis Sorting Machine. This machine does several things:

  • It weighs each envelope to ensure that there is only one ballot inside each envelope.
  • The system scans and extracts signature images.
  • It can verify signatures with those on file at the Secretary of State, although Boulder County chose not to use this function.
  • It can process up to 18,000 pieces per hour.
  • It sorts ballots into precincts so that ballots can be scanned in batches according to the unique needs of that precinct. (For example, different precincts can be in different cities and elect different city council members.

In order to ensure the integrity of an election, it is essential that each eligible voter cast only a single ballot. The way that Boulder ensures the validity of a mailed-in ballot with signature verification. The signature on the envelope is compared to the digital signature on file with the Secretary of State. See the video below for this process.

Although signatures can be verified with a machine (see above), Boulder has chosen to use a single Election Judge to verify the signatures.

Boulder Country has a two-tiered process involving Election Judges who look at every signature on mail-in ballots. In the

Tier 1

In the first phase (Tier 1) a single Election Judge compares the signature on the ballot envelope with the signature on file in the database. If an election judge questions whether the signature on the envelope matches the signature on file, then the envelope with the questionable signature is then sent to Tier Two. If the election judge decides that the signature matches the signature on file, then the ballot is considered valid.

Boulder County judges use two computer applications to verify signatures. One is “Console” used in both Tier 1 and 2 and the other is “”SCORE”, used in Tier 2 only.

SCORE contains voter information such as signature samples, birth date, address, gender, and party affiliation.

Sometimes, poll watchers question the validity of the signature. Yet if the judge deems it valid, it is still considered valid. Tier One may save money, but it does raise eyebrows.

Many poll watchers have complained that some election judges verify all signatures, including those that are wildly different from the ones on file with the Secretary of State.

Other poll watchers have complained that it makes no sense to have only one judge verifying signatures.

Tier 2

Ballots with questionable signatures are sent to Tier two, where two Election Judges, a Democrat and a Republican together, analyze whether the signature is valid or must be sent back to the voter to be “cured”. This means the voter is notified that their signature did not match the signature on file. A voter has 8 days to reply and “cure” the signature. Signature verification happens without the ballot envelop being opened to ensure a voter’s anonymity.

Under Colorado law, if both members of a bipartisan team of election judges agree that the signature on the ballot does not match the signature in the voter’s file, they cannot accept the ballot for counting. The ballot envelope is not opened, and the enclosed ballot is not counted until the discrepancy is resolved. County clerks must notify a voter within three days of discovering the discrepancy but in no event later than two days after Election Day.

Any voter who has a signature discrepancy or ID deficiency is notified by their county clerk via U.S. mail. That notification includes an affidavit with instructions on how they can return the signed paper affidavit with a photocopy of an acceptable form of ID to their county election office. The affidavit also contains instructions for voters to use the TXT2Cure system, if they instead prefer to use their smart phones to submit the information necessary to ensure their ballots are counted. Voters who are signed up for BallotTrax will receive a notice through the program if their ballot has a signature discrepancy. The notice has step-by-step instructions on how to cure their ballot using TXT2Cure and lets them know a letter from their County Clerk is on the way.

If the signature on a ballot does not match the signature on file, the ballot must be “cured.”

In 2020, Colorado Secretary of State Gena Griswold implemented a program that makes it easy for voters to fix signature discrepancies using an app for smart phones called Txt2cure.


TXT2Cure is designed to reduce the number of ballots rejected due to missing or discrepant signatures and is especially geared for younger voters who statistically have more ballots with signature discrepancies.

“In 2020, over 11,000 ballots that otherwise may not have been counted were fixed using TXT2CURE,” said Secretary Griswold.

Under the program, if a voter is notified of a signature discrepancy or ID deficiency, all they have to do is text the word Colorado to 2VOTE (28683) and click on the link they receive as a reply. They will then enter their voter ID number printed on the rejection notice they receive from their county election office, affirm they returned a ballot for the election, sign the affidavit on their phone, take a photo of an acceptable form of ID, and select “Submit”. The voter’s information is then electronically transmitted to their county clerk for processing during business hours. When a voter completes these steps before the deadline of midnight on July 6th, their ballot will be counted. 

1. Ballots and Envelops Received

  • In-person voting with Image Cast
  • Mail In Ballots
  • Collection Box

2. Mail Ballot Preparation

In Boulder County, ballots from collection boxes and the post office are sent to the main processing center.

3. Sorting /Signature Verification

  • Election judges are hired by Boulder County to verify signatures in a 2 tier process. In the first round of signature verification, a single judge determines whether a signature is valid or not. Any signatures that are not validated in Tier 1 go to Tier 2, where two judges debate the signatures. To minimize fraud in the second tier of voting, both Democrats and Republicans verify the signatures of votes in the second round of voting.
  • Veriscript Software analyzes signatures. – Although Boulder County has the machine capacity to verify signatures, they have chosen instead to use election judges.

4. Opening, Separating & Visual Inspection

5. Scanning, Resolution & Results Tabulation

Preparing Ballots

After signatures have been verified, the envelopes are opened, the ballots are separated from the envelops, the ballots are flattened, and then visually inspected by election judges.

Visual Inspection

A team of election judges looks at each ballot to ensure that it can be correctly scanned by the Ballot-Scanning Machine. Judges look for tears in the paper, coffee stains, ballots marked in pencil or incorrect ink that cannot be read in the scanner.

Any ripped, stained, or illegible ballots must be replaced by another set of judges who enters the data into a ballot-printing machine.

Scanning Ballots

Ballots are scanned with Dominion’s ImageCast Evolution Ballot-Scanning Machine.

This machine scans, records, and interprets each cast ballot with a dual image 200 dpi scanner.  This machine appends the digital ballot image with the AuditMark® vote cast record for improved transparency.

Once scanned, the ballots are then deposited into a sealed ballot box.

The tabulated votes and scanned ballot images are stored on a memory card. After the polls close on election night, the memory card is removed and transported back to the Department of Elections. The results from each polling place’s memory card are then uploaded into the total count.


Dominion is the voting system used to create ballots, capture votes, and tabulate results. It was chosen by the state after public input in 2015.

Dominion is one of the largest voting-equipment companies in the country, providing machines and software to more than 1,300 jurisdictions including 62 out of 64 counties in Colorado. Dominion Voting Systems was incorporated in the United States in 2009 with an office at 1801 Lawrence Street in Denver.

In 2015, when Colorado counties were required to update their voting equipment to comply with a 2009 law, then-Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican, said that the new equipment could only be purchased from Dominion. His office had been working since 2013 to make voting equipment uniform across the state, and the Dominion deal was a continuation of that effort. Williams had weighed Dominion’s financial health and sustainability, as well as recommendations from an advisory committee, before deciding to designate Dominion as the statewide voting-machine vendor, according to a 2015 press release from his office. ~ Westword

The Dominion voting system is connected to the internet to get new updates and “trusted builds”. After vendor software and updates are installed for the “trusted build,” the voting system is then disconnected from the internet. The trusted build is certified by the Secretary of State’s office for election use. The most recent certification on file is from 2016.

Dominion uses “Democracy Suite” software with the following components:

  • ImageCast Central absentee ballot counting solution, powered by state-of-the-art Canon scanners, tabulates the results from all ballots, regardless of voting channel.
  • ImageCast Adjudication – this digital tool allows for efficient and reliable multiuser adjudication of ballots with conditions in real-time.
  • ImageCast Remote allows overseas and military voters to securely and conveniently access their ballots. Ballots will be tabulated on the ImageCast Central as all other ballots, eliminating the need to duplicate ballots or for an additional system – and the labor required to operate it.
  • Mobile Ballot Printing – Dominion’s simple solution to print any ballot whenever and wherever needed.
  • ImageCast X: ICX Machines / ICX Ballots:  ICX machines are tablets that can be used to fill out in-person ballots.  The ICX machine has a digital version of a voter’s ballot.  A voter makes their choices on the tablet and the ICX machine issues a paper ballot when the voter completes the process.  From there, the voter takes their completed ballot and places it a physical ballot box.  The ICX machines are managed by a tech election judge.  ICX machines don’t record any information, they only fill out ballots for voters.  Dominion’s voting device, the ImageCast X tablet combines the flexibility, efficiency, and simplicity of modern technology, with an underlying platform of security and performance. It made its debut in Colorado.

Computer System 2:  BPMS.  The BPMS system is the ballot and label printing program that integrates with SCORE (ePollbook).  BPMS kicks off the tracking process for the physical documents used in the voter process: paper ballots, envelopes, and VSPC forms.  

Once ballots have been scanned, some marks on the ballot may not be tallied by the voting machine. These ambiguous marks must be clarified by humans. A team of bipartisan judges then adjudicate to decide the intention of the voter.

Once the ballots are scanned, the results are stored on a memory card.

To ensure accuracy, a statewide risk-limiting audit is conducted after each election. The process reviews how a ballot’s votes were captured at the time it was processed by comparing a sample of paper ballots with digital tallies. To learn more about the Colorado risk-limiting audit process, see this Politico story on the implementation, or this Colorado Public Radio story, or this fact sheet from the Colorado Secretary of State.

After the election, ballots are stored for a period of time.

The goal of a great election system ensures ballot access to registered voters while maintaining electoral integrity. Elections in 2016 and in 2020 election were contentious U.S. elections, eroding confidence in citizens of all political parties—even if for different reasons. Doubts in the election system undermine the foundation of democracy. In 2016, Democrats were worried about breaches to election integrity. In 2020, Republicans voiced their concerns.

Some say that voting has never been more secure in the United States, while a report from the Harvard-based  Electoral Integrity Project, shows that US elections rate “lower than any other long-established democracies and affluent societies.”

“The U.S. scored the same as Mexico and was the lowest among liberal democracies. In contrast, Denmark, Finland, and Norway are among the top-ranked countries.

The U.S. score of 61 is the second-lowest among liberal democracies, the same as Mexico.

According to US News and World Report:

“A 2019 report published by the Electoral Integrity Project, an independent project based out of Harvard University, found that U.S. elections from July 2012 through December 2018 rated “lower than any other long-established democracies and affluent societies.” Each country in the index was given a score out of 100 based on assessments of the quality of each of its elections – including categories such as electoral laws, voter registration and voting process – one month after polls closed.”

In 2016, Colorado ranked # 10 in terms of perceived election integrity (Arizona and Wisconsin are last and second to last), according to the Electoral Integrity Project.

Colorado is Ranked in 36th place, according to the Election Scorecard.

According to Boulder County Officials, Boulder has one of the most secure election processes in the Country. According to Poll Watchers, however, many vulnerabilities that need to be addressed.

General Vulnerabilities

“Colorado is an affirmation voting state.”  This election philosophy means “don’t turn any potential voters away.”  Election judges are trained to issue a ballot to any potential voter, even those without proper identification. It also means that later on, the burden of proof as to whether or not a voter’s cast ballot is legal, can be certified, and therefore can be counted rests on the state rather than putting the responsibility on the voter.  While election judges can issue challenge forms, during training for Election Judges, the process for what form to use, how to use it etc. was not covered. Raising concerns about a voter’s eligibility and the use of challenge forms by election judges is discouraged.  

Poll Watchers are prohibited from calling into question those people who show no eligibility to vote.

Complexity AND Corruption

As systems become more complex, the potential for corruption grows. For example, a computer program with five lines of code is less complex than that with 50,000 lines of code. A program with 50,000 lines of code is far more likely to have unintended consequences that corrupt the program and crash the computer. Furthermore, debugging five lines of code is far simpler than debugging 50,000 lines of code. Computers differ from human systems in that individual lines of computer code are always processed in the same way.

A simple voting system is less susceptible to unintended problems than a complex one. With voting systems, many processes, like verifying signatures, can be processed in lots of different ways, adding extra complexity and extra potential for unintentional corruption.

30 years ago, Boulder County had a relatively simple voting system. Everyone voted on one day, with the same paper ballots available only at each neighborhood precinct, with neighbors who could verify each other’s residency and the entire voting process. The process was the same for everyone. Votes were tabulated within 24 hours.

Today, the process is much more complex, as the above has shown.

Registration Vulnerabilities

Voter Rolls – How often is the database of registered voters cleared of people who are no longer registered?

Voter Registration

New Era is an organization that helps young people register to vote. Turnout for 18-34 year-olds statewide are the largest voting bloc in Colorado with 27% of the vote share. New Era expanded access to voter registration and voting on college campuses is lifting up the entire youth vote by making our election more accessible. Passing the Colorado Votes Act in 2019 was critical to expanding access for young people by having drop boxes and voter service centers on almost all campuses. While encouraging youth to vote is great, there are allegations that New Era has bribed students to vote with pizza while at the same time campaigning for particular ballot initiatives like  Colorado Votes ActStudent Loan Servicer Accountability ActClimate Action Plan.

Computer System vulnerabilities:

  1. Securing computer systems.  Election judges are instructed to lock their computers every time they step away from their laptops.  Does this actually happen?
  2. Errors entering information with printing ballots:  Election Judges are instructed to call a lead anytime they have a question or make a mistake in this process.  If you’re watching an election judge who is struggling somehow and not calling a lead that may be an issue.
  3. Internet Connection? – When asked if machines were connected to the internet the go to answer was “internal wifi.”
  4. Tabulation Server – This is the computer that counts up all the votes. When poll watchers asked if the tabulation server is connected to the internet, they were told that the “wifi is disconnected.”


  1. Electioneering at CU – 100 ft limit not enforced at all entry doors;
  2. In person vs. mail-in ballots:  When an EJ gives a voter their ballot, all in-person ballots will be flat sheets of paper.  In-person ballots have to be filled out on-site and are not to leave the voting center under any circumstances.  When a voter receives a mail-in ballot, the EJ folds the ballot to fit into the official envelope which makes it easy to tell which ballot a voter has received.  Mail-in ballots can be taken out of the voting center. 
  3. IDs:  CU student IDs are acceptable forms of identification to register to vote and to vote, however there is no birthdate or address information on the IDs.  If a student looks too young to vote, raise a flag.  Election judges have been instructed to not overstep boundaries in terms of asking for additional ID to verify a voter’s eligibility.
  4. Certified Birth Certificates: without any other form of ID (e.g. anything with a photo), birth certificates are an acceptable form of ID to vote.  While voters still have to fill out the VSPC form (legal document), election judges are instructed to accept this form of ID.  
  5. Citizenship: Verifying citizenship is an “on your honor” system.  Again the VSPC form acts as a legal document that asks this question.  Election judges have been trained to call a lead in this situation.  However, on the flip side, EJs are also instructed to not turn voters away.  In training they explained that usually leads are able to explain the situation to a non-citizen that they aren’t eligible to vote but have issued ballots in the past, relying on the fact that in ePollbook and on the VSPC forms it’s clearly indicated that the person is a non-citizen.  EJs were assured that if “non-citizen” is checked on the VSPC form that it would be caught in ballot processing.  It’s our understanding that the ballot issued is a provisional ballot.  
  6. Labels and VSPC sheets:  In the past, there have been issues with labels placed on VSPC sheets covering citizenship status information.  The way the VSPC sheets are designed this year, it appears this problem has been remedied.  Labels on VSPC sheets shouldn’t cover any voter information on the sheets.
  7. CU students voting in home-state and at school:  There is very little election judges can do to verify whether or not an out-of-state student has voted twice in this case.  EJs can ask to confirm, but there’s no way to prove/disprove double voting. 
  8. Citizensship Not Checked – Long list of acceptable IDs- many do not prove citizenship.

Voter-to-Go Vulnerabilities

Has this ever been looked into?



  1. Poll watchers had delayed access – Poll watchers were delayed and informed that nothing was going on, although there was activity.
  2. Election staff limited Poll Watchers access to various parts of the election process –
  3. Signature Verification: Signature verification is intended to ensure the identity of the voter and to rule out fraud. Boulder Country has adopted a two-tiered process involving Election Judges who look at every single signature. In the first phase (Tier 1) a single Election Judge compares the signature on the ballot envelope with the signature on file in the database. Any questionable signatures are then sent to Tier Two, where two Election Judges, a Democrat and a Republican together, analyze e whether signatures are valid or to be “cured”.
    1. Poll watchers observed that very roughly, about 5% of signatures at Tier 1 were questionable and needed further review. This matched the rate at which some Election Judges sent signatures for more in-depth review.
    2. Some election judges, however, verified every single signature, even though poll watchers found some signatures wildly different and in need of more scrutiny.
    3. Poll watchers were perplexed as to why only a single election judge is required to judge the first tier of signature verifications.
    4. Notebooks being reviewed by staff; told possibly needed to be handed over
    5. Poll Watchers were dismissed for not handing notebooks to paid staff.
    6. Some Election Judges did not carefully analyze the signatures by magnifying them. Instead, they accept most every signature. Seemed more prevalent toward the end of the election
    7. Leads advised Election Judges whether to accept or reject signatures.
  4. Scanning Room – Ballots are scanned for tabulation in a separate room.
    1. Poll watchers were limited to watching through a window  
    2. Some poll watchers were denied access to the scanning room, while others were told they could have limited access.
    3. Only one election worker at each scanning machine.
    4. Not evident if the operators scanning the ballots were bi-partisan.
  5. Adjudication Room – access limited to watching through a window
  6. Poll Watcher Guidelines Were Revised after the required submission date.
    1. inserted a paragraph that gave election staff the right to search the watcher notebook after required submission date 
    2. inserted a paragraph that gave election staff the right to search watcher notebooks

Ballot Box vulnerabilities: 


On June 22nd and 23rd, Bill DeOreo visited the 8 drop boxes in Boulder and Gunbarrel to determine how secure they were. The criteria were for location, lighting, camera coverage, and notice placement. What he found was less than ideal.

Ballot boxes:  There are two types of ballot boxes.  Silver and Blue.  Silver are for in-person ballots.  Blue are for mail-in ballots.  The slots on the boxes prevent in-person ballots from being deposited into a mail-in ballot box, and vice versa.  EJs were trained to know that there has to be a ballot box judge monitoring both in-person and mail-in ballot boxes. 

All ballot boxes: should be sealed with a special lock that is tracked.  Only leads can lock the ballot boxes due to the lock tracking system called BBTS.  Once a ballot box is full, the leads seal the ballot box and bring out a new empty ballot box which starts the new locking/tracking system.

Ballot box security, storage, and transportation process:  Election Judges were never told where the ballot boxes were stored on-site, what type of security is used to keep the ballot box area secured, how long ballot boxes remained on-site before being couriered by a bipartisan team to the vote processing center, etc.  Please ask to see this process and see what type of security is being used to keep ballots safe.  Are there cameras?  Who has access?  How is that access tracked?  Etc.  

Holding Room for “In Person” ballots – Ballots that were cast “In Person” at voting centers were collected in red ballot boxes. These were transported to the Voting Center to be stored in a separate room until all mail-in and drop-off boxes were processed and counted. Were these “In Person” ballots handled with both Republicans and Democrats present?

Poll Watchers were not allowed into the room where “In-Person” ballots were stored.

In-person ballots were not scanned upon receipt at ballot processing.

The room with “In Person” ballots was unlocked.

Ballot harvesting:

In 2020, Election Judges were told that the maximum number of ballots that can be dropped off in a mail-in-ballot box is 3.  If someone is dropping off more than 3, a form needs to be filled out.  (Some EJs said they were told the number is 10 ballots).  In training, EJs weren’t shown the form or instructed on how to manage the process for either allowing or not allowing multiple ballot drop-offs by a single person.  

The above is based on information provided by Holly Kasun, Emily Brake, Boulder County Elections, and various volunteer poll-watchers.

Database of Voter Fraud – 1,465 Proven cases.

1 thought on “Is Boulder Is the Gold Standard of Election Integrity?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *