Monthly Archives: February 2017

Draft of the Watcher Bill and Comments

In 2015 Marilyn Marks asked Colorado Representative of the General Assembly Joann Windholz to carry a bill to clarify and substantiate the rights of election watchers. The resultant bill was killed upon its first hearing in committee. The Secretary of State then created a “stakeholder group” to discuss what a watcher bill should contain, but the group was stacked with support for election officials and only a minority of active watchers were on the committee. The bill for the 2016 session was written at the office of Secretary of State and it was deemed not to support watchers effectively. Citizens asked Representative Windholz to kill her own bill and she did so, as it was apparent it was about to be amended to make it even less acceptable to watchers.

In December, 2017 Colorado Senator Jack Tate dropped his card in my lap and said there would be a watcher bill in the 2017 session of the Colorado General Assembly. He sent me a draft copy. It resembled the Windholz 2016 bill with the unfortunate and harmful amendments already built in. That bill draft and extensive comments made by me for Senator Tate is documented in below pdf:

The final bill as introduced in the Colorado Senate as SB17-138 is linked from the Colorado Legislature:

A group of watchers have worked together to rewrite the bill to accommodate the needs of changes in the Colorado system (precinct polling places replaced by vote centers and ballots mailed to all active registered voters). That bill in its current form can be found in following pdf:

The progress of the bill in the legislature can be found here.

As of latest information, the bill received testimony in the Senate State Veterans and Military Affairs Committee and is scheduled for amendments and a vote on March 6.

Related: The Colorado Statesman – Opinion: Branscomb: SB17-138 blocks citizen rights to witness and verify election steps