WELD COUNTY, Colo — What are your plans this weekend?
Want to look through 55,000 Weld County primary ballots and verify what we already know? That the results calculated by the Weld County election equipment was accurate.
"You have the opportunity to sit at a Friday night, with whatever your preferred beverage is, and look at my ballots and my election," Republican Weld County Clerk Carly Koppes said.
Every election ballot turned in for the June 28 primary has been uploaded on the Weld County Election website for anyone to review. Once you create a login, you can review the marks each voter made and compare those marks to what the election scanners recorded.
"It's really just to give more transparency to continue to try and build our trust back in our elections," Koppes said. "I think we're to the point where it's not just 'trust me,' but it's 'trust and verify.'"
This is a pilot program. Weld has already posted images of ballots for the 2022 primary and the 2021 coordinated election. El Paso County will be posting the 2022 primary images by the end of next week. Mesa County is participating in the pilot program. Logan County will upload the November 2022 ballot images.
Being able to inspect the images comes with a cost.
"We are one of the ones that are piloting this, and so we do pay between $3,000-4,000 for every election. I think it's pretty reasonable at this point," Koppes said.
Mesa County spent $3,300 to show images for the 2021 election.
El Paso County spent $5,000 each for the 2022 primary and general election.
"They're seeing that here are the actual ballots and this is exactly how the machines are counting it and they can verify it for themselves, so that they can rebuild their own trust," Koppes said.
Trust broken, in part, because of what is happening in Mesa County, where Republican Clerk Tina Peters faces felony charges for tampering with the county's election equipment in an effort to show unfounded fraud.
Koppes does not think that showing ballot images online will even convince Peters and her followers.
"I don't know if it necessarily would do away with the likes of Ms. Peters and some of her supporters, however, I am going after the people that I would call the opportunity group, the ones that have the questions and concerns, but haven't really gone to the extreme as she has," Koppes said. "I'm going after the voters who just have the questions and the concerns that can still have decent conversations with me."