Gov. Hickenlooper should veto this flawed election reform bill

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May 23, 2012

Grand Junction Daily Sentinel
734 South 7th Street
Grand Junction, CO 81501

Dear Editors:
  The Daily Sentinel’s recent editorial – “Manipulative process taints a ballot bill” (May 17, 2012), and Bill Grant’s column—“Gov. Hickenlooper should veto this flawed election reform bill” (May 23, 2012), demonstrate why a gubernatorial veto of SB 155 is necessary but not sufficient to restore the integrity of the secret ballot in Colorado.

  Underlying the controversey over public access to voted ballots and the linkage of voters to their ballots is the pernicious influence of “money in politics”.

  As former Secretary of State (SOS) Bernie Buescher noted, Colorado’s election system is overly decentralized and sorely needs more standardization and supervision.

  Colorado elections are currently conducted by 64 County Clerks and Recorders (61 of whom are elected Republicans).  Through the Colorado County Clerks Association (“CCCA”), the clerks consistently resist all efforts – including those of Republican SOS Scott Gessler – to limit their prerogatives as independently elected statutory officials.

  “Most disturbing”, as former State Representative Kathleen Curry recently wrote Governor Hickenlooper, while the CCCA is nominally funded by dues paid by member counties (i.e., by taxpayers), its “lobbying dollars are coming from the electronic voting machine manufacturers”.

  Thus, the CCCA – including Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Sheila Reiner – have a profound conflict of interest when it comes to protecting election integrity, being beholden to the very vendors who have the most to gain from election nontransparency.

  This explains why the CCCA and Reiner seek to impose a “blackout” period to deny public access to voted ballots until after an election is certified, while refusing to fix the real problem – locally discretionary procedures that enable election officials to link a voter’s identity with his/her voted ballot, in violation of the Colorado constitution.

  That is also why Bill Grant’s call for an “independent commission” to examine and eliminate this threat to free and fair democratic elections in Colorado is most timely.

              Bill Hugenberg
              543 Rim Drive
              Grand Junction, CO 81507
Word Count = 300         257-1998

Correction to above:  Of Colorado’s 64 County Clerks and Recorders, 18 are Democrats, 3 are unaffiliated, and 43 are Republicans—so 2/3 (not 61) of the Clerks are Republicans.
Bill Hugenberg

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734 S. Seventh St.
Grand Junction, CO 81501
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