Secretary of State Scott Gessler

Secretary of State Scott Gessler(Hyoung Chang, Denver Post file photo)

A group of voters has sued Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler and Adams County Clerk Karen Long over the fact that nearly all ballots in last month’s election could be traced to the Adams County individuals who cast them.

The suit, filed Tuesday night in Adams County District Court, demands that a judge void the county’s election. There are six plaintiffs in the suit, including Adams County Republican Party Chair Gary Mikes.

The suit further cites Long, a Democrat, for not revealing the printing error that placed a unique voter identification number on both the ballot and the return envelope until after the deadline for a recount had passed.

The Colorado Constitution guarantees voters a secret ballot.

“A pall has been cast over the integrity of the election, both by Clerk Long’s violation of the Colorado Constitution and by (her) intentional concealment of the constitutional violation from the canvass board, the public, and interested parties until after critical jurisdictional deadlines for investigating and challenging election irregularities had elapsed,” the suit reads.

The plaintiffs sued Gessler, a Republican, as well through “his official capacity as Colorado secretary of state.” His office did not immediately return a request for comment.

Long, who was not available for comment Wednesday morning, blamed the ballot secrecy issue on the county’s external printing vendor, Runbeck Election Systems. She said they had inadvertently printed and mailed ballots that could connect a ballot to a particular voter. Long said Runbeck will pay for redacting the information.

She issued a news release Wednesday and said: “Despite this error made by our printer, at this point, after consulting the Secretary of State’s office, we are confident that voter anonymity remains in-tact and we have taken steps to redact this information from any ballot that would be available to the public through a CORA request.”

Last week, Long said she didn’t make the issue public until Dec. 10 because “disclosing this mistake during the election process could have unnecessarily impacted voter turnout.”

At no time was a voter’s identity compromised, Long said last week.

The plaintiffs assert that “Coloradoans deserve better from their government” in the conduct of elections.

“This court must act to assure the public that knowing, unconstitutional conduct engaged in by executive officers of government will neither escape condemnation by the courts nor attain lawful status by the simple stratagem of calibrating a cover-up with the passage of jurisdictional deadlines,” the lawsuit says.

John Aguilar: 303-954-1695, jaguilar@denverpost.com or twitter.com/abuvthefold

 

http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_27154609/adams-county-clerk-scott-gessler-sued-over-ballot

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