Printed letters, September 21, 2011

Do Mesa County elections produce private files to be shared only with partisan Democratic and Republican appointees? Is Mesa’s election information so secret for insiders that the press, Libertarians and unaffiliated voters must be denied access?

Mesa County Clerk Sheila Reiner claims, “How you vote is your business. As a sworn election official, it is my duty to protect your vote from public display.” She seems to say, “How you vote is your business, my business and the business of the Democratic and Republican partisan appointees.”

Voters should remind Reiner that when an election official records any personally traceable ballots, regardless of promises of confidentiality, it is a serious violation of the state Constitution.

It is a founding American principle that, above all, government officials, including Reiner, must not know how we vote. Ballots are anonymous, not secret. Ballots must be voted in private, but always counted in public.

Citizens and the press in Saguache County just inspected all the ballots in their last election to try to verify questionable results. No voter identity was at risk. Ballots are not identifiable. They are public records. Why should citizens in Saguache County, or the press in the 2000 Bush vs. Gore ballot review, or Connecticut voters who annually undertake a citizens’ audit, enjoy rights to verify election records that the Mesa County clerk denies?

When citizens, including the League of Women Voters in South Carolina, recently reviewed data from their touchscreen machines of the type used in Mesa County, they found widespread and significant errors. Reiner is spending public funds to seek court protection to stop Colorado citizens from making a similar review at their own expense. Why?

Elections belong to the people, not government bureaucrats. Without the right to verify our own elections, our democracy is left in the hands of officials and their cronies.

MARILYN MARKS

Aspen

More spending is not answer to economic woes

Many of President Obama’s economic advisors were former professors, like him. They never worked in the real world, but in the past three years they got a chance to test out their theories. The result is we are now saddled with trillions in additional debt that represents their failure. Did the magnitude of their deficit spending make sense to you? We know it is easy to run up debt, but very difficult to pay it off.

Many who live in the real world disagree with more government spending being the solution. They believe that the best way to jump-start the economy is to get more money into the hands of job creators, the folks who own and manage businesses. The problem for President Obama is that successful business owners who create the most jobs can end up being millionaires (very few billionaires), the very people he frequently attacks.

The small-business owners making $250,000 or more, the ones the president is targeting for major tax increases, are not all millionaires and, to the extent they are, their wealth is tied up in plant, equipment and receivables.

They get it: These one-year tax benefits in the president’s latest stimulus bill are intended to get the president re-elected, and then the bills will come due. They are the ones who are expected to pay those bills.

We need to elect a president in 2012 who has worked in the real world.

DAVE KEARSLEY

Mesa

Where are the jobs wealthy were to create?

If corporations and the ultra-wealthy deserve huge tax cuts because they are the ones who create jobs, then show me the jobs. President George W. Bush gave the ultra rich their infamous tax cuts and only 1 million jobs were created in his eight years in office. In 2010, 1.1 million jobs were created.

Neither number compares to the 23 million jobs created while Bill Clinton was president. He raised taxes on the wealthy class and left a budget surplus for Bush. If corporations that pay little or no taxes and billionaires who get tax breaks are the job creators, then where are the jobs?

I also wonder if those awaiting God’s will for their lives regarding running for president have ever contemplated the notion that maybe it is God’s will that Barack Obama became president of the United States.

HOLLY VON HELMS

Montrose



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