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Kathleen Curry Wins Lawsuit Over Counting Write-in Votes

Published on November 6, 2010, by in General.

On November 5, a Colorado state district court ruled that votes for write-in candidates in which the voter forgot, or didn’t know, to also fill in the oval next to the write-in line should be counted.  The 4-page decision is here.  Kathleen Curry is a write-in candidate for re-election to the Colorado state house.  The initial machine tallies show that she may have won the election, or she may not have won.  The number of ballots considered to be undervotes in her race is larger than the margin between Curry and her Democratic opponent (the Republican in the race clearly came in third, and has conceded).  An “undervote” in this context means a ballot in which the vote-counting device believes no vote was cast.  The machine, of course, can’t know if the voter cast a write-in, unless the voter filled in the oval next to the write-in line.  Only a human count can find such votes.  As a result of the ruling, there will be such a human-eye count.  It is possible the Secretary of State will appeal this decision to the State Supreme Court, however.

The ruling says, “The overall intent of the election code is to permit qualified electors to cast their votes for eligible candidates and ballot issues of their choosing, not to thwart the intent of voters by imposing technical obstacles…Refusing to count these votes would thwart the clear intention of the electorate, as well as the intent of the election code.”  The ruling says that these types of votes only need to be counted when they may affect the outcome of the race.

This ruling could have implications for the Alaska write-in tally.  Both the Colorado and Alaska code seem to say that a write-in vote is not valid if the voter didn’t fill in the oval.

3 Responses

  1. Demo Rep

    LEGAL votes versus ILLEGAL votes.

    Bush v. Gore 2000 — NO definition of a LEGAL vote in Florida in 2000 due to armies of MORONS.

    See the U.S.A. regime HAVA law requiring the State MORONS to have such definition of a legal vote.

    What if there was a national write in for Prez — a mere 130 MILLION ballots to be looked at ???

  2. Jim Riley

    There is nothing in statute that says anything about an oval being filled in. That is something that is specified in regulations for machine-counted ballots. Further, in case of a hand recount, write-in votes with unmarked ovals are counted.

    But Curry is not close enough for a mandatory recount (0.5% of the leading candidate total), so she would have to pay for the recount. But that standard would appear to presume an ordinary race between two on-ballot candidates, where some voters may have marked their ballot in an irregular manner, but where intent could be determined.

    If all the ballots in the district were scanned, but those with the write-in oval marked kicked out for hand examination, then 9,000 of the 29,000 ballots have already been hand examined. The other 2,000 is a small number in comparison.

    Ultimately, the Colorado House would determine the winner of an election contest, and it would be a lot easier for a bunch of election clerks to count the ballots now, than have them locked up for 2 months and having legislators examining the ballots. Incidentally, Colorado just barely missed the chance for a 32:32:1 split (with Speaker Curry, perhaps?).

  3. clara bell

    lets count all vores .

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