V. Enforcement and Jurisdiction
A. Titles 1 and 31 and Other Statutory Language Concerning Elections
1. Statutory language concerning elections should be reconciled with particular attention to issues of transparency, security, and verifiability.
2. Title 31 (Municipal) elections must be subject to the oversight of the Colorado Department of State (CDOS) Elections Division. Today the CDOS claims to have no oversight or enforcement authority or responsibility for municipal elections. This situation leaves the locally elected officials in charge of enforcement of rules that led to their own election.
3. Title 31 elections should require the same standards for certified election equipment that is required for Title 1 elections. Today, the CDOS claims that no certification of equipment is required and all municipalities are free to use any equipment whether tested or not.
4. Titles 1 and 31 differ in the handling of provisional ballots, absentee ballots, and mail-in elections and other topics.
a. These differences need to be reconciled. Consistent approaches for all elections would greatly benefit the public as well as election officials. Voters are frustrated by differing rules and remedies for different elections, leading to outcries and disenfranchisement, as well as a general distrust.
b. The legislature should study the need for any divergence of municipal elections from county-run elections and then limit the text of Title 31, Articles 10 and 11, exclusively to references to appropriate portions of Title 1, with specific treatment of the necessary differences.
B. Enforcement of Rules
1. The statutory language needs to clarify that the DA has enforcement authority for elections in all home rule cities and statutory municipalities. (The 9th Judicial District DA claims to have no authority over home rule charter cities for enforcement of election violations. Therefore, no one other than a municipal court has authority. Municipal courts are not always independent of local elected officials.)
2. The 9th Judicial District Attorney claims that the rules are not enforceable because they are merely “rules.” Obviously, much of what ought to be enforced is contained in the rules. Stronger statutory language is needed to require Secretary of State rules to be enforceable by a DA in practice.
3. The State of Connecticut has an independent enforcement authority only for elections violations (www.ct.gov/seec). The Colorado General Assembly should study this model for possible future adoption and implementation.
C. Oversight of Multicounty Contests and Secretary of State Certification
1. Many states have statewide canvass boards or boards of election to implement citizen oversight over election functions that necessitate coordination among counties and county canvass boards, such as certification and audit and recount of multicounty contests.
2. Currently the Colorado Department of State Division of Elections performs these functions without much transparency or any oversight. Public awareness of the importance of audits and recounts and the process of certification has now reached the point where it is no longer appropriate to run an election without a citizen oversight function at the state level.
D. Ranked Choice Voting in Law and Rule
Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) is offered for Title 31 elections with no definition or requirements or constraints on voting rules. The Secretary of State recognizes no authority over municipal elections even after a recent statute required the Secretary of State to promulgate rules concerning RCV, something the Secretary of State has declined to do. As a result, the creation of rules is left entirely to municipalities with virtually no conditions other than the constraints within the state and U.S. constitutions. RCV needs additional rules and regulations.
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