Gilpin County 2015 CORA Conversation

Date: 10/14/2015 2:29 PM

To Gilpin County Clerk and Recorder
 (Clear Ballot Group)

Dear Clerk and Recorder or other records custodian if applicable:

Your county is piloting a new voting system in the November 2015 Coordinated Election.  This email serves as a Colorado Open Records Request for electronic copies of the original pdfs (or if not pdf, the applicable graphic source format) used to print unvoted paper ballots for your election.  This request encompasses ballots for all precincts, styles, voting methods (in-person, by mail/drop-off, emergency, UOCAVA, provisional, replacement) and any others such as specially printed test ballots but only if they in any way have different content. I do not request duplicate sets of pdfs used for e.g. replacement and mail if they are identical. Note however that ballot on demand source files may be different and if so, I am including them in my request.
  
 Note that this is not a request for a pdf created from a scan of the paper form of the ballot - this is for the source file used to create the ballots. Please advise me if the vendor requires a multipage pdf with a page for each instance of printed ballot or for any other reason the data capacity of my records request is too large for email fulfillment.

Although I am not required to explain my intention, I find it beneficial and good manners to do so.  I will be using the pdfs of the unvoted ballots as part of a technical process to independently audit the election and perform an evaluation of the voting system using scans produced by the voting system to be obtained under CORA after certification as referred to below. Please discuss with me any concerns you have over the possibility that these pdfs could be used to create ballots that would be returned in your election or any other similar concerns that would present obstacles to fulfillment. I am prepared to take create an assurance that unexpected ballots will not result including by delaying the fulfillment of the request until Nov. 4.

This email also serves as a presumably helpful advance notice of my intention to CORA request 1) electronic scans produced by the voting equipment used in the pilot election of all the tabulated ballots returned in the 2015 Coordinated election  as soon as C.R.S. 24-72-205.5 allows. I will also be requesting 2) the "cast vote records" or other record of vote patterns recorded per ballot by the voting system. I will also be asking for 3) a newly created electronic color scan copy of each ballot that was duplicated prior to scanning for tabulation.

For requests 1) and 2) these files should be produced in the format and organization defined by the voting system. Only the fulfillment of request 3) will be the result of a scan not performed originally for tabulation. For all three requests I request no reformatting be done other than minimal redaction by adding a black area to an otherwise original graphic file to cover the privacy impinging mark(s) if any. I also ask that each instance of redaction be logged in a note to accompany the records fulfillment.   Note that with this advance notice I hope that you will find a way to most efficiently and inexpensively prepare electronic file copies of the ballots for fulfillment per C.R.S. 24-72-205.5.

That law does have a requirement for potential redaction of identifying marks. I am hoping you will make plans for accomplishing any research regarding identifying marks in the most efficient manner such as during election judge review of the incoming ballots and will discuss any associated costs with me as soon as possible. I am ready to discuss means to use tools in C.R.S. 24-72-205.5 to avoid privacy problems with styles that result in instances of less than 10 alike in the election.

Please respond with an estimate of the amount of any fees that  might be charged in the fulfillment of this future request.

If my request or any portion of it (including the prospective future request) will be denied or fulfilled only in part, please advise and cite the applicable law. If fulfillment will be delayed for any reason, please explain.

Thank you very much.

Harvie Branscomb

Gilpin County website: http://www.co.gilpin.co.us/clerkrecorder/open-records-clerk.pdf

http://www.co.gilpin.co.us/Anncmts_Pub_Notices/Other/Open_Records_Request.pdf

Note I cannot  locate the CORA form mentioned in the pdfs.

***

Date: 10/22/2015 8:33 AM

October 19, 2015

To: Harvey Brandscomb

Re: CORA Request

Dear Mr. Brandscomb:

Gilpin County has received your CORA Request dated October 14, 2015. As Gilpin County Clerk and Recorder, I am custodian of the records. I must follow the Security Rules established by the Secretary of State. I am responsible for guarding the integrity of the election and maintaining public trust.

I have considered your request for “the source file used to create ballots”. I cannot release the files you are requesting at this time. Under the Secretary of State’s Rule 11, I would be violating the security of an active election. Please refer to Rule 11.1.1 which states, “The designated election official must securely store election set up records.” and Rule 11.1.2. “The county clerk must deputize employees who are authorized to prepare or maintain the voting system or election setup records before the election.” Rule 11.1.3 requires background checks. Rule 21.1.17 states that “security means the ability of a voting system to protect election information and election system resources with respect to confidentiality, integrity and availability.” Rule 21.11.11 states, “All parties must treat as confidential the terms of this Rule including all escrow materials and any other related information that comes into their possession, control or custody in accordance with this section. “

By releasing the source files used to create ballots, the clerk’s office would be violating the security of the election. This action would also jeopardize the public trust in the election process.

Thank you for your advanced notice of your future CORA request for “cast vote records” and scan copies of the ballots. I will be able to provide the information you need after the Canvass Board meets and certifies the 2015 Coordinated Election. The Canvass Board will be meeting on November 18, 2015. I will comply with any request that you have after that date.

Sincerely,

Colleen Stewart

Gilpin County Clerk and Recorder

***

Date: 10/30/2015 2:22 PM

Colleen Stewart
 Thanks for your response to my CORA request. I have responded in line to yours marking your text with GC for Gilpin County and mine with HB for my initials.

GC> Gilpin County has received your CORA Request dated October 14, 2015. As Gilpin County Clerk and Recorder, I am custodian of the records. I must follow the Security Rules established by the Secretary of State. I am responsible for guarding the integrity of the election and maintaining public trust.

I have considered your request for “the source file used to create ballots”. I cannot release the files you are requesting at this time. Under the Secretary of State’s Rule 11, I would be violating the security of an active election. Please refer to Rule 11.1.1 which states, “The designated election official must securely store election set up records.” and Rule 11.1.2. “The county clerk must deputize employees who are authorized to prepare or maintain the voting system or election setup records before the election.” Rule 11.1.3 requires background checks.  Rule 21.1.17 states that “security means the ability of a voting system to protect election information and election system resources with respect to confidentiality, integrity and availability.” Rule 21.11.11 states, “All parties must treat as confidential the terms of this Rule including all escrow materials and any other related information that comes into their possession, control or custody in accordance with this section. “

By releasing the source files used to create ballots, the clerk’s office would be violating the security of the election. This action would also jeopardize the public trust in the election process.

HB> Clerk Stewart
  I have requested this same set of records from eight counties of which one has already produced the records well before the end of the three day period. That county added a watermark indicative that the contents are not an official ballot. Six other counties have agreed to provide the records by November 13.

 HB> Although I am not a lawyer I wonder how your argument can withstand scrutiny as you have likely provided exactly the same records I have requested to a private contractor for purposes of printing... another member of the public. I would like to ask you to reconsider your response in light of the fact that it also precludes responsible methods of evaluating the new voting system you are piloting for purposes of SOS evaluation. Please agree to fulfill my request as all other 7 counties requested are doing.

GC> Thank you for your advanced notice of your future CORA request for “cast vote records” and scan copies of the ballots. I will be able to provide the information you need after the Canvass Board meets and certifies the 2015 Coordinated Election. The Canvass Board will be meeting on November 18, 2015. I will comply with any request that you have after that date.

 HB> Thank you for your indication of ability and willingness to fulfill the request for voted ballots. Perhaps I mistook the meaning of your phrase "will comply after that date" but CRS 24-72-204.5 does not require me to wait until certification to begin a request for CORA fulfillment of voted ballots. Many of the records are in your possession today. I am making that formal request now for purposes of fulfillment as of the earliest date  allowed by statute in hopes that that date can be achieved.

 This email serves as a Colorado Open Records Request for electronic copies of 

 1) electronic scans produced by the voting equipment used in the pilot election of all the tabulated ballots returned in the 2015 Coordinated election  as soon as C.R.S. 24-72-205.5 allows;

 2) the "cast vote records" or other record of vote patterns recorded per ballot by the voting system also as soon as statute allows;

 3) a newly created electronic color scan copy of each ballot that was duplicated prior to scanning for tabulation.

 For requests 1) and 2) these files should be produced in the format and organization defined by the voting system. Only the fulfillment of request 3) will be the result of a scan not performed originally for tabulation. 

 For all three requests I request no reformatting be done other than minimal redaction by adding a black area to an otherwise original graphic file to cover the privacy impinging mark(s) if any. I also ask that each instance of redaction be logged in a note to accompany the records fulfillment.   

 Colorado law does have a requirement for redaction of identifying marks. I am hoping you will make plans for accomplishing any research regarding identifying marks in the most efficient manner such as during election judge review of the incoming ballots and will discuss any associated costs with me as soon as possible. I am ready to discuss means to use tools in C.R.S. 24-72-205.5 to avoid privacy problems with styles that result in instances of less than 10 alike in the election.This can be accomplished by adjustment of the detailed scope of my request or by sufficient redaction of identifying detail such as precinct coding presumably with my acknowledgement.

 Please respond with an estimate of the fees that will be charged in the fulfillment of this request. Please consider any means to make anonymization of the records efficient and cost effective. Denver county has experience with this as does Galois Inc. Dr.  Joe Kiniry is a contact at Galois who can provide advice, software and service for this purpose. kiniry at galois.com

 If my request or any portion of it will be denied or fulfilled only in part, please advise and cite the applicable law. If fulfillment will be delayed beyond the statutory release date for any reason, please explain.

 Please feel free to respond to this CORA request on Nov. 4 if not before election day.  I think ample and unusual advance notice of this request has been provided via the office of SOS as well as from myself in conjunction with my request for unvoted ballot pdfs. I hope that leads to your ability to respond to the request with expedition and without much pain or difficulty.

 Thank you very much.

 Harvie Branscomb

***

Date: 11/5/2015 4:04 PM

November 5, 2015

Dear Mr. Brandscomb:

Thank you for your visit yesterday. I really appreciate the time you spent with us talking about elections and election equipment. I admire your passion for accurate, accessible and quality elections.

This letter is in response to your CORA request. We will supply you with the electronic images of ballots and the cast vote records as you requested. We will send them to you after the Canvass Board meets. The Board is scheduled to meet on November 18th.

The estimated cost will be about $60.00. We will need to buy the appropriate size drive to hold the information you have requested. Employee time should be less than two hours.

Sincerely,

Colleen Stewart

Gilpin County Clerk and Recorder

***

Date: 11/5/2015 4:39 PM

Clerk Stewart
 Thank you very much for your response to my CORA request. I will forward the $60 you requested. I also really appreciate the time you took to talk with me. I learned so many things that will help me in my voluntary efforts to improve and maintain quality in elections in Colorado.

Harvie Branscomb

***

Date: 11/6/2015 8:21 AM

Our time talking was very valuable to us also. We all want the same thing –quality elections. Hold off on the $60.00. That was an estimate. We will research what size drive and the shipping cost to send it to you and let you know.

***

From: Colleen Stewart <gcclerk@co.gilpin.co.us>

Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2015 3:58 PM
 Subject: CORA request

Good news! We finished our Canvass Board and they Certified the election. I have the election records on a thumb drive and am sending them to you. Should be in tomorrow’s mail

***
Date: November 18, 2015 11:45 PM

Colleen Stewart
 Thank you very much. I'm a bit concerned about the mailing address. My PO box is probably best...
 PO Box 2720 Basalt CO 81621

My physical address is not deliverable by USPS.

Harvie Branscomb

***\

Date: 11/19/2015 8:37 AM

Thanks. I did see that address on one of your e-mails. I will use your p.o. box and send it today.

***

Date:  11/19/2015 11:02 AM

Colleen
 When you send it I hope you will use a means of tracking because my PO Box is about to be forwarded. Thanks!
 Harvie

***

Date: 11/19/2015 11:04 AM

Sorry, my staff already mailed it.

***

Date: 11/19/2015 12:10 PM

OK... thanks!  Is there a charge?
 Harvie

***

Date: 11/19/2015 12:22 PM

$15.00 for the drive. Staff time was minimal.

***

Go back to 2015 CORA Archive page