By Al Maurer, Communities Digital News
February 26, 2014 Colorado is now the owner of an election system that would make the tin pot dictator of any banana republic proud. The country that found a simple method to insure voting integrity in the 2010 Iraqi elections now has a state with no controls at all. It's the Wild West for elections in Colorado.
Desperate to maintain their hold on power after two of their senators were recalled and another forced to resign, radical Democrats in the Colorado legislature rushed through another election bill on the heels of last year's disaster called House Bill 13-1303. That one contained such provisions as mandatory all mail-in ballots, same day voter registration and reduced residency requirements for any state-wide election to twenty-two days. Voter ID was not included and the local polling place is a thing of the past.
The law raised havoc with local elections. Among a host of issues was the fact that residency requirements were up to 30 days in some jurisdictionsnow longer than state wide. The hastily-written law was so bad that some had called for its repeal or at least a two-year delay in implementation.
Given the chance this session to fix the mistakes of the massive HB13-1303 law, Democrats chosenot surprisingly, perhapsto double down on their election free-for-all strategy. This year's bill, House Bill 1164, was rushed through just like last year's bill on straight party line votes.
The new law impacts 1,900 local taxing authorities across Colorado, including fire districts, recreation districts, school districts, and sanitation districts. It exempts these elections from all Colorado election rules because the proponents of HB 1164 local boards and town councils demanded no regulatory oversight of their elections.
Election integrity activist Marilyn Marks called this approach "roll your own" election rules. She points out that any Colorado voter may now show up in any local election on the same day he "moves" into town. It becomes easy to manipulate local elections with a few "new voters."
Since 1992, voters have decided tax and debt issues on the November coordinated ballot. Last November, dozens of tax initiatives were defeated at the polls, including Democrat and union-sponsored Amendment 66, a multi-billion tax gift to unions. Coordinated elections may also become a thing of the past, voters getting multiple ballots at pretty much any time the local taxing authority chooses.
Senate Republicans tried to impact the bill but to no avail. Amendments to include Secretary of State oversight; a written set of procedures; ADA-compliant and accessible polling locations and voting equipment; a local place to vote; and a host of other long-standing voter rights and security controls were all defeated.
Democrats also ignored citizens who didn't want mandatory mail-in ballots. When the idea of all mail-in ballots was last put to the people, it was rejected. This will come as a shock to many come November.
Authorities holding elections now set their own rules, count the ballots themselves without oversight, and announce the results whenever they're ready. If they want to send the ballots to a tabulating company in Nevada, no problem. Think electronic machines can't be rigged? Think again. Numerous reports from the 2010 election claim that electors pushed the button for one candidate and the result showed another.
Nor does fraud need to be "massive." A few percentage points may be all it takes and small enough to not even raise eyebrows. A busload of "new residents" in a local election, ballots harvested from waste bins or sent to phantom voters could easily tip the balance.
Democrats can't take all the blame, prominent as they have been in dismantling free and fair elections in Colorado. The County Clerk and Recorder's Association has been complicit, both Democrats and Republicans. It is an open secret that the association is in the pocket of large makers of voting systems but no investigative reporter has ever undertaken to look into it. El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams, often the lone opposition among country clerks, resigned from the group.
Al Maurer is a political scientist and founder of The Voice of Liberty. He writes on topics of limited government and individual rights.