A week after the Parker Water and Sanitation District board of directors election where 96 registered voters did not receive mail-in-ballots, candidate Kory Nelson is asking a Douglas County District Court to order a new election.
Following the preliminary election results, Nelson, who finished fourth, refused to concede “until every voter is given a fair opportunity to vote,” he said in a May 3 press release.
On May 2, Parker Water and Sanitation held a special district election to fill three board seats..
According to the unofficial results, Nelson 26 votes behind the third-place candidate one day after the election.
The election will be certified by May 16, and the top three candidates who received the most votes will be elected to the board, according to the Parker Water District.
On May 10, Nelson asked the district court to intervene, citing a botched elections process and the “disenfranchisement” of over 90 voters that changed the outcome of election results, he said in a press release.
Nelson said the election results should be deemed invalid because 48 hours before the May 2 election Parker Water discovered that ballots were not sent to nearly 100 residents.
“Then (the district) scrambled haphazardly to try to remedy its mistake at the last minute,” Nelson said in the press release. “The district placed a huge burden on the disenfranchised voters to find information about the candidates and the election, obtain a ballot in person, mark the ballot and then submit the ballot in person - all within 24 hours.”
Ron Redd, the district manager of the Parker Water and Sanitation District, said the district had posted numerous public notifications about the election a few weeks in advance. On April 11, notifications from the district were posted to LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Nextdoor notifying customers ballots were in the mail.
Once the district became aware of the issue, Redd said they did the best they could to get information out to the public. The district posted an important notice to Lincoln Creek Village on the district website on May 1.
The morning of the election, the district sent out a blast email to a majority of the impacted residents, left voicemails for specific groups of customers and spoke with the Lincoln Creek Village HOA, according to Redd.
Special districts follow the Colorado Local Government Election Code, according to Joe McConnell, a local government elections and financial analyst for the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.
Nonpartisan elections not coordinated by county clerks and recorders, according to code 1-13.5-102.
However, the code does not mention a procedure to redo an election.
“There is no “do-over” mechanism in the Local Government Election Code,” said McConnell. “The district’s Canvass Board will certify the election results regardless of whether the fourth candidate concedes.”
However, there is a process for the fourth candidate to contest the election in district court, said McConnell, which is laid out in part 14 of the Local Government Election Code.
Given the water district hired a third party consultant, Colorado Community Resources, to handle the election, Nelson’s verified petition asks the court to find and declare that the designated election official failed to “substantially comply” with the requirement to mail a ballot to all registered voters.
Due to the short notice to vote, the petition also asks the court to find and declare that a significant number of eligible electors were denied the right to vote; invalidate the district’s May 2 special district election and order a new election.
There is not date set for the court to rule on Nelson’s challenge.