Sunday, June 9, 2013

Colorado: Center recall election voided, new vote to be held

Big ruling in the Center controversy. The judge overturned the March 19 recall of the mayor and two city councilmembers, but ordered a new election in 90 days (which presumably would include a third council member who survived the vote.

However, the judge held that the vote fraud and intimidation charges (among others) were unsubstantiated or couldn't be proven.

Here's an excellent look at the backstory. For simplicity purposes, this is the key point for the plaintiff's original complaint:
“It is impossible to determine who actually won this election, given the massive breakdown in basic procedures. Of approximately 480 ballots cast, 301 absentee ballots were hand delivered with no record of who delivered them, a procedure that invites abuse. The votes on 364 of the ballots were counted in violation of the voters’ right to a secret ballot. This abuse of voter privacy is intolerable anywhere in Colorado, but it’s especially troubling in Center, with its continuing reports of voter intimidation and undue influence,” Marilyn Marks, President of Citizen Center, stated.
The report notes this comment in the ruling (which does not appear on the court's website):

Gonzales commented in his ruling: “While this Court cannot find that any violation of the secrecy of the ballot actually occurred, this Court has a duty under Taylor v. Pile to declare the Election void ab initio, simply because under the circumstances the secrecy of the ballot could have been violated. Taylor v. Pile does not require that a contestor of an election show that anyone actually learned how an elector voted. Quite the contrary, the simple fact that votes were revealed on ballots being counted that still had their identifying stubs attached is sufficient.” 

This is another black-eye for elections in Saguache County. The County Clerk and Recorder was kicked out of office after she refused to turn over election results that might have shown her losing her election.

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