Curry says state impeding her write-in effort

QUICKREAD

What counts as write-in vote

• What the Secretary of State’s Office says: “A vote on a ballot on which the voter physically writes in the name of a legally qualified write-in candidate in the space reserved on the ballot for write-in votes and properly marks the oval or connects the arrow on optical scan ballots according to the directions provided to the voter.”

• What state law says: “Eligible electors may cast a write-in vote for a candidate who has filed an affidavit of intent of write-in candidacy pursuant to section 1-4-1101 by writing the name of the person in the blank space provided for write-in candidates on the ballot. Each write-in vote may include a reasonably correct spelling of a given name, an initial or nickname, or both a given name and an initial or nickname, and shall include the last name of the person for whom the vote is intended. Whenever write-in votes are cast, they shall be counted only when the intention of the elector is clearly apparent.”



Rep. Kathleen Curry is suing the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, again.

This time, the unaffiliated lawmaker from Gunnison says the office is making it nearly impossible for her to be successful in her write-in campaign for a fourth term in the Colorado House.

Curry said the office is requiring the five clerks in House District 61 — Garfield, Eagle, Pitkin, Gunnison and Hinsdale counties — to count ballots that include write-in names only if voters also checked the box next to that option.

“After months of wrangling, finally the Attorney General’s Office has said in writing that the only way the ballots will count is if people do two things: write in Curry and fill in the box,” she said. “The law itself doesn’t require that, so we’re suing the secretary of state.”

Richard Coolidge, spokesman for Secretary of State Bernie Buescher, said the office’s rule on the subject is clear and that it follows state law.

“Just procedurally, in order for a (voting) machine to read a paper ballot, it’s looking for the filled-in holes, so we disagree with her on this one,” Coolidge said. “We’ve told her from the start the voting machines cannot read handwriting. We would have to do a statewide hand count if the box wasn’t checked because we’re not going to treat her differently than other write-in candidates. We have about a dozen write-ins for governor.”

It doesn’t matter what the machines can or cannot do, said Curry, who left the Democratic Party last year, but it was too late to get her name on this year’s ballot as an unaffiliated candidate. She sued several times to reverse that and lost each time.

Curry said the law requires all ballots to be counted, but it doesn’t say that shouldn’t be done if it’s too hard to do so.

“Much to Secretary of State Buescher’s dismay, the law doesn’t require a box,” she said. “They are choosing to set the bar as high as possible and ignore voter intent. So I have been told if I want my ballots counted, I have to sue them. My clerks, all five of them, they want to count all my ballots, but the secretary of state has said, ‘No.’ “

Curry is running against Democrat Roger Wilson of Glenwood Springs and Republican Luke Korkowski of Crested Butte.

Curry said her lawsuit should be filed in Denver District Court by this morning.



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