Secret ballot decision could impact Mesa County elections

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While local Republicans may be reveling in the anti-Obama rhetoric spewing from their brethren in Tampa, Bill Grant’s column – “Decisions on ballot secrecy could affect election in Mesa County (August 29, 2012) – should serve as a “wake-up call”.

As a result of Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s emergency ruling on August 21, 2012 – prohibiting traceable barcodes on paper ballots – Mesa County Republicans could be entirely disenfranchised by the actions of our Republican County Clerk and Recorder Sheila Reiner.

While Reiner does not use traceable barcodes, she employs local “batching” procedures which achieve the same result – linking voted ballots to the identity of the voter – by systematically ordering ballots within batches rather than randomizing them (as is routinely done elsewhere in Colorado and across the country).

Moreover, rather than simply adopt cost-free remedial procedures, Reiner is instead expending thousands of taxpayers’ dollars and the County Attorney’s valuable time to argue in federal court that we Americans have “no fundamental constitutional right” to vote by secret ballot and that, even if we have such a right, it does not preclude sworn election officials (i.e., the government) from being able to ascertain how we voted.

Meanwhile, none of the cases involving Reiner has been resolved – despite rulings in related cases indicating that further litigation will be fruitless.  Moreover, Reiner should expect to be sued again shortly – seeking a TRO to stop her unconstitutional practices.

Colorado’s impending election debacle is entirely attributable to the Republican-controlled Colorado County Clerks Association, which sought to exempt voted paper ballots from the Colorado Open Records Act by proving that ballots were traceable—apparently not realizing that traceability is unconstitutional.
As Gessler told a public hearing on July 23, 2012, “There is no consistency whatsoever.  Frankly, there is some scary stuff being done by county clerks” – including Reiner.
              Bill Hugenberg
              543 Rim Drive
              Grand Junction, CO 81507

The County Clerk should know who voted, but not how they voted.


You got it!  That’s the common sense solution that Reiner is spending our tax dollars to oppose—on behalf of the Colorado County Clerks Association.

Bill H.

I understand that mail-in ballots are counted and tallied each day during the mail-in season. Ballots should not be counted until after the polls have closed on election day.

Bill, since you and I are the only ones who are commenting, it seems the rest of the voting pubic doesn’t care about fair elections.


Election officials would rather process early voting mail-in ballots as they come in—even though tabulated vote count cannot be accessed until polls close on Election Day—to expedite release of results (speed over accuracy).

Most Americans just assume that we have “the best election system in the world” and pay little attention to the integrity of our elections—because most elections are not close enough to be affected by “registration fraud”, “voter fraud”, or election fraud by sworn but partisan election officials.

Local Republicans do not want to admit that one of their own—who is angling for leadership of the Colorado Clerks Association—is both compromising ballot secrecy and spending taxpayers’ money to defend the indefensible.

Local Democrats do not want to raise a ruckus that would lend more credence to already widespread anecdotal “evidence” of voter intimidation by Republican-leaning employers in Mesa County.

Only if more citizens like you take an interest—and Marilyn Marks in Aspen—take an interest can we make a difference.  See Citizen Center website.

Meanwhile, a simple lawsuit could void all election results from Mesa County this November.

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