An open letter to members of the Election Reform Commission - Colorado Politics

An open letter to members of the Election Reform Commission

Author: - February 20, 2009 - Updated: February 20, 2009

Dear Election Reform Commissioner,

For the Election Reform Commission to take action without first addressing the widespread corruption in Colorado’s election system would compromise the integrity of the commission itself. To ignore the corruption would signify that the commissioners were uninformed or, if informed, inattentive to those aspects of the election system that most affect voter confidence.

1. The Colorado Department of State is violating the law, and nobody is doing anything about it. And CDOS is abusing their privileged public position to cover up their misdeeds. One example, of many, is documented in a formal HAVA complaint. If this is news to you, I hope that you will share our disgust with the way this complaint is being handled. At a minimum, the commission should recommend strong independent oversight of the Colorado Department of State.

2. The Colorado County Clerks Association is a front organization that does not operate under Colorado’s Sunshine Law. The organization represents the interests of the clerks and, to some extent, the vendors. It definitely does not represent the interests of the public. It is our understanding that the commission is considering recommending that a task be assigned to this secret and self- serving organization. This would be an error. This organization should be dissolved, not recognized.

3. County clerks abuse their power. Many of the proposed ERC recommendations would further empower clerks to cover up election defects and suppress the political parties,
candidates, and the public. Some quick examples:

a. Boulder County replaced the Official November 2008 Canvass Board Report with a report more forgiving than the true facts. The county has refused to provide a copy of the replacement report in response to Open Records requests. The Department of State also has refused access to the document.

b. Boulder County operated the TALLY system without the required oversight. On Election Night, a county employee, who easily could have changed the election results, operated the machine alone. In addition, a Canvass Board member/poll watcher was forced to leave the room where the TALLY violation was occurring. The district attorney decided to “not file charges.”

4. The Colorado attorney general serves as attorney for the secretary of state. He is not authorized to enforce the Sunshine Laws. He does not enforce election laws. He is not a
representative of the voters. Voters deserve strong independent oversight and publicly funded, independently chosen, private legal representation to enforce Colorado’s election and Sunshine laws.

The purpose of this letter is to put on the record a few specific illustrations showing that the Election Reform Commission has been informed of Colorado’s election system corruption.

For the commission to not take action on the corruption issue would be a grave error. There are three subjects that must be addressed: transparency, verifiability and accountability. Without transparency, there can be no oversight. Without verifiability, one cannot actually detect defects. Without accountability, there is no way to improve.

Before voting, the Commission should inspect each of its proposed recommendations to see if each increases or decreases the transparency, verifiability and accountability of the election system.

Please do not complete your work without first addressing Colorado’s serious corruption issues.

Al Kolwicz,
Colorado Voter Group

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