Boiling down the ballots (letter to editor by Aspen City Council member Torre)
On ballots, magic and transparency (letter to editor by Marilyn Marks, Marks v. Koch plaintiff)
Editorial By The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
A response to the above editorial by Al Kolwicz (submitted for publication):
Dear Editor Silbernagel,
Here are some suggested corrections to your November 15th editorial, “Protect voter anonymity”.
The problem is not that ballots are public records. It is that Clerk Reiner is violating the state Constitution and has devised an election system that enables government to determine which voter cast a specific vote and/or a specific ballot. This is against the law, and an affront to the people.
A reasonably competent design would not have this flaw. It would ensure that votes and ballots are anonymous – as required by the Colorado Constitution.
Why, one might ask, does Mesa County’s election system have this obvious flaw, and more to the point, why is Clerk Reiner defending rather than seeking ways to remove the flaw?
Why do some county clerks want to exempt anonymous ballots from Colorado’s Open Records Act? Are they fearful that the public will discover more flaws in the system, for example are votes not being interpreted and counted correctly?
The state Constitution does not, as the editorial states, prohibit election officials from disclosing how any voter voted. It requires that votes and ballots be anonymous so that nobody, not even the election officials, can know how you voted.
If officials were permitted to know how individuals voted, the data could be leaked and the door would be open to voter coercion and intimidation. Reiner has confessed to the court that she collects data that can be used to find out how you voted, and shares this data with partisan canvass board appointees from the two major parties.
Do the voters of Mesa really want government officials, partisan appointees, and election workers to know how they vote? Government employees and people seeking government approvals or contracts will be hard pressed to vote their conscience knowing that government might use their vote against them.
No, the problem is not anonymous ballots as public records. It is Mesa County’s flawed and unconstitutional election system and Clerk Reiner’s unwillingness to accept responsibility for correcting the flaw.
Surely Clerk Reiner knows that, because she violates the Colorado Constitution, Mesa County elections can be voided. We don’t need this in 2012, or ever. It would be best if Reiner spent her time correcting rather than defending her illegal system. We are happy to assist.
Colorado Voter Group
2867 Tincup Circle
Boulder, CO 80305