Phone records obtained by Boulder Weekly seem to confirm that despite her earlier comments to the contrary, Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall was the one who denied election activists’ Sept. 28 request to observe the ballot printing process.
Russ Boehm, a Republican who was appointed to the canvass board that has been meeting without the clerk’s blessing in recent weeks, says he contacted the county’s print vendor, Integrated Voting Solutions (IVS), on Sept. 28, identified himself as the canvass board’s chair, and asked if he and some election “watchers” could observe the printing process that weekend. Boehm says he was told by an IVS executive that such a visit was not only permissible, but that the facility has a dedicated viewing area equipped with video monitors for that purpose.
Boehm says their scheduled visit the next day was confirmed by Mike Rockenstein of IVS at around 3:30 p.m., but Rockenstein then called back about 12 minutes later, with what Boehm described as a “shaken” voice, to say that their visit was being canceled because they didn’t have permission from the county clerk and recorder.
Hall told the Camera on Oct. 1 that the decision to not admit the observers was made by the facility, not her office, and she stood by that statement in subsequent interviews with BW, although she ultimately acknowledged in a prepared statement that she took “full responsibility for the decisions made that day” when the activists were turned away.
Prior to receiving the clerk’s phone records, BW called Rockenstein and asked what had happened during that 12-minute period to change his mind about the activists’ visit. He asked where BW had gotten his number, and when advised that IVS headquarters had provided it, he asked if someone had referred BW to him.
“I mean, I prefer, you know, um, I’m not prepared to answer the question,” Rockenstein said. “I’m actually in a meeting right now.”
He declined to answer whether he placed a call to the clerk’s office during that 12-minute window of time.
“I’ve got to go, I’m sorry, I’m just in a meeting,” he said.
Rockenstein did not return a message left subsequently.
The phone records do, in fact, show that Rockenstein talked with both Hall and Deputy Clerk Molly Tayer during the exact 12-minute period between when Rockenstein said yes to Boehm and when he called back and said no.
The phone log shows that Tayer called Rockenstein at 3:24 p.m. that day, and Rockenstein called her back at 3:26 p.m. and at 3:27 p.m., at which time they spoke for five minutes. The records also show that Hall called Rockenstein at 3:33 p.m. and spoke to him for nearly three minutes.
Hall responded to a request for comment after BW‘s print deadline, saying via email, “From what I remember, our calls were discussing arrangements for the next day — what time staff would be arriving and who would be attending. We were also confirming for Mike Rockenstein that Mr. Boehm is not an employee of the Clerk and Recorder’s Office. Mike was confused about this because Russ called employees on their cell phones and identified himself with our office. The IVS employees assumed only an employee of our office would have had their cell numbers.”
When asked for a response, Boehm said via email, “I don’t know how Hillary can make any claim about me impersonating her employees. She was not part of any phone call I had and I don’t think she’s omniscient. I don’t need to imitate anyone and I don’t need to lie.”