Guns Gone Wild: Springs father kills 14 yr. old step-daughter

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

NRA won the battle here and helped perpetuate further gun violence and needless deaths:

A Colorado Springs father fatally shot his teenage step-daughter Monday, saying he thought she was a burglar. Prior to the incident, police received a call about a burglary in progress. But when they got there, they found the 14-year-old with a gunshot wound. She was taken to the hospital and died soon after, according to CBS Denver.

Police have not said yet if they will file charges against the Colorado Springs father whose name has not been released, but Colorado is one of many states that has a “shoot first” law that authorizes the use of deadly force in defense of one’s home, and shields individuals who do so from any criminal or civil charges. Although Colorado does not have a Stand Your Ground law, it does have its own version of what is known as the Castle Doctrine, which allows homeowners to use deadly force to protect their dwelling without a duty to retreat. The law was dubbed the “Make My Day,” law after the 1983 Clint Eastwood film ”Sudden Impact,” in which Detective Harry Callahan — “Dirty Harry” — aims a gun at a criminal suspect and says, ”Go ahead, make my day.”

The statute is particularly broad because it authorizes deadly force not just for fear of great bodily harm or death, but anytime a person “has made an unlawful entry into the dwelling, and when the occupant has a reasonable belief that such other person has committed a crime in the dwelling in addition to the uninvited entry, or is committing or intends to commit a crime against a person or property.” Castle doctrine laws that empower civilians with guns to take the law into their own hands have been associated with many tragedies.

What more can be said? This is not surprising in the least. The NRA, with the help of local politicians and radical partisans, has glorified the gun culture and ramped up the paranoia of citizens to the point where this type of tragedy is a regular occurence. That's not to say accidents like this could or would never happen, but the gun rights side consistently stretches the truth, browbeats politicians, and perverts the political process to make sure of one thing: there are more guns in the hands of more people who are more inclined to use them at the drop of a hat.

Gessler confirms Democrats will retain Hudak seat at least through next general election

Speaking on KOA’s Mike Rosen Show Wed., Secretary of State Scott Gessler said that Colorado Democrats will hold State Sen. Evie Hudak’s seat at least until the next general election in Nov. 2014.

Rosen: So, all things being equal, the Democrats will retain their 18-17 majority in the State Senate through the 2014 session….

Gessler: “That’s correct. Unless someone wants to recall another state senator. But not that I’m advocating for that at the moment. But yeah, currently, that’s the way things are going to work out.  And the Democrats will retain their 18-17 majority. They will cling to it.”

Gessler’s comments, which were not reported by real journalists, are important because recall organizers pledged last week to forge on with signature gathering, hoping that somehow, some way, their efforts would lead to a recall election in Hudak’s Westminster district. Gessler’s comments appear to officially close the door on the Hudak recall campaign.

So You Like Recalls, Do You? Get Ready For More

More to this easily-missed comment on the Recall Hudak Too campaign's Facebook page than meets the eye:


This year has already witnessed the first two recalls of sitting Colorado legislators in our state's history, and an attempt on a third state senator is presently underway. Victory in the two recalls held this past summer has put Colorado Republicans within a single seat of taking control of the Colorado Senate. With the balloting process thrown into disarray by a court ruling that prevented the normal delivery of mail ballots in recall elections, Republicans have found a way of overcoming growing Democratic dominance in general elections, picking off individual legislators in contests tilted to their advantage.

Well folks, it does appear that two can play at this game. The fact is, freshman Sen. Vicki Marble has had some of the worst embarrassments we've ever seen in such a short legislative career, from her rant against equal pay for women to her disastrous comments about race and diet that made national news. Marble is also a hand-picked Rocky Mountain Gun Owners candidate, which makes her an appealing target for Democratic retaliation against Dudley Brown's heavy involvement in this year's recalls.

To be perfectly honest, we've been waiting for the other shoe to drop.

It's folly to think that Democrats can't succeed in getting a recall election on the ballot against Marble or other Republican legislators. Marble's crazy comments and unappealing votes as part of the Republican caucus can certainly be vilified by petition gatherers, as much as anything Democrats have said and done this year. There's no reason to think that a similar investment of energy and capital to what Republicans have carried out against vulnerable Democrats can't succeed against vulnerable Republicans like Marble. In both cases, it's the aggressors who have the momentum.

We've warned repeatedly this year that successful recall elections had a strong likelihood of leading to more such recalls, and that in the end a vicious retaliatory cycle of recalls substituting for a functional democratic process was a very real possibility. At this point, Democrats have little choice but to fight back in kind, and turn the advantages Republicans have taken in the recalls so far against them.

Like it or not, the genie is out of the bottle.

Peter Boyles Critiques Local Coverage of the Hudak Recall Effort, as Only Peter Boyles Can

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In the heated battle and drama surrounding the efforts to recall Colorado State Senator Evie Hudak, accusations of malfeasance and misrepesentation have been thrown back and forth, a gubernatorial candidate has proffered obscene gestures, and local news outlets have entered the fray to parse out the truth and report on the contentious issues raised by the two sides.

Never the wallflower, KNUS 710AM radio talk show host, Peter Boyles, has become the media point man for the Recall organization, hosting the organizers Mike McAlpine and Laura Waters in daily appearances for updates and rallying cries. As you might guess, the tone of the show these days is combative and loud.

When KDVR Fox 31's reporter Eli Stokols and KCNC CBS4 Denver's Shaun Boyd ventured into Arvada and Westminster to report on the Recall and efforts to thwart it, they were not spared from Mr. Boyles cutting criticism and confrontation.


Arapahoe DA Indicts Two Voters, Two Canvassers

Scott Gessler.

Scott Gessler.

As the Denver Post's Lynn Bartels reports, we finally have charges filed against someone–four people, in fact–as a result of Secretary of State Scott Gessler's three-year quest to uncover what he originally insisted was "thousands" of illegal voters in Colorado:

The Arapahoe County district attorney's office has charged four people with misdemeanors after a voter-fraud investigation that tracked more than 40 people and election records dating back to 2008.

Two of the people charged are immigrants — one from Africa who has donated to Democratic causes, the other from Poland — who have been deemed ineligible to vote in Colorado. The other two are Coloradans who worked for a liberal non-profit organization that registered people to vote.

All four are charged with "procuring false registration," according to a news release Friday from Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler's office. The office investigated 41 "non-citizens."

"This is evidence that this is not an epidemic, but there are isolated incidents that need to be treated seriously," Brauchler said.

9NEWS' Brandon Rittiman with reaction from Secretary of State Gessler:

Gessler defends his record saying that snuffing out any amount of voter fraud, however rare, is a goal that justifies his policies.

"I appreciate District Attorney Brauchler's good work," Gessler told 9NEWS. "This news further confirms that there is a vulnerability in the system and is more evidence from across the state showing that confusion and error allow non-citizens to register, and in some cases vote."

Bartels reports that Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler's office spent some 300 man-hours investigating the 41 names referred to his office by Gessler, in the end producing indictments against two improperly registered voters and two paid canvassers from 2008. Brauchler is quickly gaining a reputation as a partisan politician with higher aspirations, and in support of Gessler's dogmatic campaign to uncover noncitizen voters, we're sure he spared no expense. In the end, though, Brauchler's statement that there is "not an epidemic" of voter fraud is reasonable and accurate, and there's nothing inappropriate in his misdemeanor indictments.

Obviously, Democrats are going to nonetheless question such a massive effort to "uncover" an infinitesimal amount of actual trouble. Gessler's insistence that this result in Arapahoe County "confirms" a "vulnerability in the system" is simply laughable. In every meaningful way, the paltry results of Gessler's years-long campaign to root out what he originally insisted was ten thousand or more "illegal voters" speak for themselves, and prove there is no systemic problem with noncitizens voting. The problems uncovered here are anecdotal, not systemic, and in fact are much smaller in number than so many other ways a legal voter's ballot might be compromised, invalidated, folded, bent, spun, or mutilated. As one example, compare this effort to the troubled rollout of Gessler's mobile voter registration website, which "disappeared" the registrations of many hundreds of legal voters. Everybody wants as accurate an election as possible, but what camels were swallowed to strain these proverbial gnats?

It's been said that those who set out with a preconceived expectation usually find what they expect to. In Gessler's case, even when the facts totally fail to support his expectations, he recites the same talking points.

Video: Paid Recall Worker Tells Voter To Lie About Residence

UPDATE: Check out this complaint posted to the Hudak recall campaign's Facebook page:



FOX 31's Eli Stokols again breaks a big story that's bad for the recall campaign against Sen. Evie Hudak:

A man being paid to gather signatures to recall state Sen. Evie Hudak can be heard encouraging a person who lives outside the lawmaker’s district to sign his petition with a fake address in an audio recording released Thursday by a group defending Hudak.

The Democracy Defense Fund, formed to defend Hudak, D-Westminster, sent out a YouTube video of an audio recording of a four-minute exchange between an unidentified petition circulator, who admits to being paid $3 per signature by Kennedy Enterprises, and an unidentified person who is really a DDF staffer with a tape recorder…

“If you write an Arvada address in there, it’s alright,” the petition gatherer says, apparently encouraging the man to lie about his residency. [Pols emphasis]

“So if I just wrote my buddy’s house, you think it would work out?” the man responds.

“The thing is, technically, only out of 100 names — or let’s say out of 1,000 names, only 630 of them have to be real registered voters for me to get paid for the whole job,” the petition circulator says.

“It’s basically six out of ten — makes it a little easier for me.”

One of the things that has made Democrats nervous as the recall signature campaign against Sen. Evie Hudak got underway were reports that organizers had adopted a validation screening procedure similar to the method against against Sen. Angela Giron in Pueblo. By pre-screening prospective petition signers against a mobile-accessible voter file spreadsheet to ensure they are registered voters living in the district, the recall campaign against Giron achieved a stunningly high validity rate for their petitions. As we've said, regardless of how you feel about the recalls, you have to acknowledge that this prescreening of signers was a game-changing development–and should be adopted by every petition campaign going forward.

So what's going on here? Why is this paid gatherer telling people who live out of the district to lie about their residence? Why does he so casually explain that he only needs a 63% validity rate to "get paid for the whole job?"

There have been a number of anecdotal reports, from talk radio interviews in addition to tallies from recall opponents watching petition sites, that suggest the Hudak recall campaign is having trouble obtaining the signatures needed to reach the ballot. We of course have no way of assessing the truth of these reports, but it's true that the threshold for success in Senate District 19 is substantially higher than it was for the two recall elections this summer. We do know that at least at one point of the Hudak recall petition campaign, on-site validation of voters as residents of the district was taking place.

But what we're seeing here, a paid gatherer willing to lie and encourage lying, with a validity quota of only 63% to get paid, obviously without the screening intended to ensure the kind of high validity rates we saw in the Giron recall, is the best evidence yet that the Hudak recall campaign is desperate. The impression the campaign has given is that they are using on-site validation, and as a result there's already a broad presumption of a high validity rate for whatever signatures they do turn in. This campaign has tried even harder than previous efforts to pass itself off as "grassroots" and adherent to high standards. Eli Stokols' last report, documenting a pro-recall worker assaulting a recall opponent cameraman, already put a dent in that impression.

Today, we know a lot more. Now we know that they've got guys out on street corners ready to say anything to anybody to get them to sign the petition, even lie and facilitate fraud. And that means the aforementioned presumption of high validity, and with it the moral high ground the Hudak recall campaign claims, may now be dispensed with.

Reminder: DO NOT Take Legal Advice From Jon Caldara

Jon Caldara.

Jon Caldara.

As the Colorado Independent's Tessa Cheek reports:

Independence Institute President Jon Caldara says news that the attorney general is investigating former El Paso County Clerk staffer Alissa Vander Veen for voter fraud is not really surprising. For months he has been arguing and trying to demonstrate that a new law that put in place same-day registration in Colorado encourages troublemaking at the polls.

Caldara said he doesn’t remember ever speaking to Vander Veen or know anything about her case, but he added that he thinks the state’s Voter Access and Election Modernization Act “basically legalizes voter mischief.”

…Democrats, with the support of most of the state’s county clerks, passed the sweeping law last session, looking to increase voter turn out and up the efficiency of election administration for the digital age. Caldara joined Republican lawmakers in opposing the bill. He said so-called gypsy voters wold now be able to game the system by registering the day of the election wherever they wanted to vote in the state. Critics said the complaint was fear mongering and pointed out that state laws preventing voter fraud had not changed.

It was reported yesterday by the Colorado Independent that former El Paso County Clerk staffer Alissa Vander Veen is being investigated for violating rules for residency to vote in the Senate District 11 recall election in September. Vander Veen in fact used a VA loan to purchase a home in Pueblo last year, and such loans require the purchaser to use the home as their primary residence. Despite that, she reportedly affirmed an SD-11 address and voted in the recall election.

We'll be interested to see the results of that investigation, but for today, it's enough to be amazed by the endless chutzpah on display from another person under investigation for fraudulently voting in the SD-11 recall, the Independence Institute's director Jon Caldara.

Caldara, no stranger to the world of showy political statement, was determined to test the system. He posted a website encouraging “gypsy voting” and, although a longtime resident of Boulder County, he filed a transparently bogus registration in El Paso County and cast a blank ballot in the heated recall election there this summer.

“You know there’s an investigation on me as well,” Caldara said, deadpan. “That’s par for the course when there’s a complaint filed, the DA has to look at it. If the DA is conflicted, then he has to bump it up to the AG’s office… That’s not unusual, not necessarily nefarious.” [Pols emphasis]

Got that? Under investigation for felony vote fraud–"not unusual, not necessarily nefarious."

It is a truly absurd place we've arrived at in Colorado politics today, folks.

Credibility In Ashes: Zero Prosecutions Of The “Gessler 155″

Scott Gessler.

Scott Gessler.

The Grand Junction Sentinel's Charles Ashby published a story this weekend that, in a perfect world, would mean the end of higher political aspirations by Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler.

Since taking over the Secretary of State’s Office in 2011, Scott Gessler has loudly and repeatedly claimed that non-citizens were illegally voting in Colorado elections.

The Republican, who has long called for a new law requiring people to show proof of citizenship before voting, made national news when he went before Congress that year making a blockbuster statement that 16,270 non-citizens were registered to vote in Colorado and 5,000 of them actually had cast ballots in the 2010 state elections, when Democrat Michael Bennet narrowly defeated Republican Ken Buck for the U.S. Senate…

After years of critics demanding that Gessler forward names of suspected non-citizens whom he said were on the voter rolls, his office referred a list of 155 suspected non-citizen voters in July to 15 district attorneys across the state, recommending prosecution and issuing a strongly worded statement saying the list was proof the state’s election system is “vulnerable.”

A check by The Daily Sentinel with those district attorneys over the past two weeks, however, revealed that none of the referrals led to criminal prosecutions, though some still are under investigation. The analysis also showed that although some of the non-citizen voters did cast ballots in at least one election going as far back as 2004, the preponderance of the other voters actually were citizens who legally had the right to vote.

Gessler's quest to uncover evidence of "noncitizen voters" has consumed a tremendous amount of his and his staff's time since taking office in 2011. In April of 2011, Gessler testified before a congressional committee, claiming his "studies" had "found" that some 5,000 noncitizens had voted in Colorado in the 2010 elections. That number was quickly debunked by showing that over 30,000 Colorado residents had become citizens during the time period Gessler examined, easily accounting for his alarming figure. In 2012, Gessler sent letters to 4,000 voters he "suspected" of voting illegally. Westword reported that round of letters resulted in the cancellation of 88 registrations, few if any of which had ever actually voted. Most such errors were attributed to simple misunderstandings and errors made by clerks.

In Ashby's story this weekend, we read about a few more such anecdotal cases–a Pueblo County voter from Belgium who voted in 2006 as one example, who cancelled her registration after realizing she couldn't vote. Not only did the local district attorney find no intent to commit fraud, the statute of limitations was years expired. Of the 155 cases Gessler recommended for prosecution, a few cases remain under investigation, but there have been no prosecutions. We'll know in the next few weeks if any result.

Regardless of how those few remaining "cases" end up, you can't excuse the present state of this "investigation"–complete failure, a totally unjustified return on Gessler's investment of manpower and time–after the breathless and shocking claims Gessler originally made. Gessler originally asserted, without any "maybe," that 5,000 noncitizens voted in 2010. When you compare the things that Gessler said right after taking office with the reality three years later of zero prosecutions, it is obvious that Gessler simply has no credibility.

How this man retains any viability for another run at political office is truly baffling to us.

More People Voting: A Good Thing, Unless You’re Scott Gessler

Scott Gessler.

Scott Gessler.

A press release from Colorado Common Cause today celebrates the first statewide election carried out under House Bill 13-1303, the new Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act passed by the General Assembly this year:

Colorado’s voters are the big winners in the inauguration of a new modernized election law on Election Day. More than 267,000 more people voted in this year's Colorado's off-year election than in 2011. Voters noticed few differences from prior elections, but had more options and more services on Tuesday.

For the first time, every registered voter received a mail ballot, but with the option to mail it back, drop it off or vote in person. In the past, some elections were conducted by mail, others were not, creating confusion among voters as to whether their ballot would arrive in the mail. Last November, more than 70% of Colorado chose to vote by mail.

“The new election law is designed to make voting more accessible and simpler for voters. And it worked. Problems reported on our nonpartisan voter hotline on Election Day were much easier to solve this year. If someone had moved, needed to update their registration information or replace a ruined ballot, we could direct them to any voter service center in their county right up to Election Day. In the past, it was much more complicated and many people just gave up,” said Elena Nunez, executive director of Colorado Common Cause.

The Denver Post's Joey Bunch has some analysis of this year's strong turnout, which can be fairly attributed to polarizing ballot measures in addition to the state's accommodating new voting laws:

What drove the increase? A lot of things. Some of it could be attributed to almost 212,000 more registered voters since 2011 — from 3,350,219 two years ago to 3,562,184 on Tuesday. Colorado legislators this year also made mail-balloting the law, rather than just an option. The state has allowed voters to chose to get a ballot mailed to them for quite awhile, and in the general election last year 74 percent chose to do so. This year, that number grew to 100 percent of those, plus many more who had been deemed “inactive” for not voting in recent elections. Getting a ballot without leaving home likely pulled many of them still living in the state back into the fold.

But don't tell any of that to Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, House Bill 1303's most ardent opponent.

Minutes before the polls closed Tuesday night, Gessler laid out to me all the things his office had done to get the new law working in time, with much more to do before next year’s much larger general election. He sent staff to about 30 of the state’s 64 counties to help them with procedures, technology and security, so Gessler said he wasn’t surprised the law worked without many Election Day hitches. “From a policy standpoint, it’s been disastrous,” Gessler said. “From a technology standpoint, it’s also a disaster.” [Pols emphasis]

Now folks, what do you suppose the "disaster" was? Was it a "disaster" that so many more people voted? That Gessler's office had to actually do some work to implement the new law? We assume the "disaster" wasn't Amendment 66's lopsided defeat, because that wouldn't make sense either coming from a Republican. Ordinarily, you would assume that pronouncing something a "disaster" means you have, you know, evidence to back that up. But when the facts don't validate his scare tactics, Gessler sticks to the script.

Three years ago, it was shocking. Today, we know it's just how Gessler operates.​

Loose Ballots? Just send them back, voter vigilantes.

Colorado Peak Politics, your source for hysterical news reports about all manner of possible voter fraud which could conceivably happen someday, wants you to know that Todd Shepherd has loose ballots accumulating in his apartment complex foyer. Mr. Shepherd was so upset about this that he went on a mission to two other apartment buildings with ballots lying around.  And he found them, and breathlessly reported on them on CPP. "Who knows what other violations are out there?" CPP asks.


Mr. Shepherd, just so you know, it is illegal to tamper with other people's mail. This includes opening, destroying, and damaging mail. Probably videotaping other people's mail, and posting it on youtube would be considered mail tampering, as well.

While we're talking criminal penalties, you may want to be aware that forging a signature on a ballot not your own (i.e., impersonating a voter) is a felony.  And the County Clerks do have visual recognition software which checks voter signatures. So your concerns about Colorado's all mail ballot system causing voter fraud through loose ballots are not justified.

What to do if your apartment foyer is infested with "loose ballots":

1. Contact the apartment manager and ask if the ballots can be forwarded to a tenant.

2. If you are an apartment manager or landlord of a building, and you know that the tenant to whom a ballot is addressed has moved, but you do not have a forwarding address,  the civic-minded responsible thing to do is not  to rummage through their mail, videotape it, and post it on youtube and a right wing website.

3.  The  correct response to loose ballots with no forwarding address is to write "MOVED – NO LONGER AT THIS ADDRESS" on the ballot, and then put it back in the outgoing mail.

4. When the County Election Clerk receives these ballots, the voter will be inactivated. Per Pueblo Clerk Gilbert Ortiz, around 3800, or 4% of the county electorate, was "inactivated undeliverable."

This is, of course, an absurd story. It is, however, part of a continuing push to discredit Colorado's HB1303, the Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act. Jon Keyser shared his fake "double ballots" story on CPP. Every time a "mail ballot fraud in Colorado" story is debunked, two more pop up in right wing media.

Colorado is considered to be a model of good voter access and reliability. Colorado's voter turnout of 71%  was third in the nation in the all mail-ballot 2012 election.  So, of course, too many people are voting, and this is suspect..

Moral: If you see a loose ballot, don't videotape it.  Get it to the voter, or get it inactivated. 

Miniscule Vote Fraud Allegations From Recalls


Noted briefly by the Colorado Springs Independent's J. Adrian Stanley, with an amusing twist:

Jon Caldara's ballot was the most famous to be forwarded to the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office — because of suspected voter fraud — following the Sen. John Morse recall. 

Also among those whose ballots were forwarded: my husband's…

Stanley reports that her husband's ballot was rejected due to inconsistencies in with the signature compared to others on file. The case was referred to the El Paso County District Attorney's office, who contacted them and ultimately accepted the explanation that the ballot was legitimately cast.

More interesting than this reporter's husband's ballot is this relayed detail from the El Paso County Clerk's office: of the 17,943 ballots cast in the Senate District 11 recall election last month, only 18 ballots have been referred to prosecutors for further investigation, presumably including Independence Institute President Jon Caldara's openly fraudulent "civil disobedience" ballot. The flood of Caldara-style "gypsy voters" never materialized–and even if they had, the clerk has a ready means of enforcement, as demonstrated by the DA's office chasing down voters. Caldara may yet supply a much higher profile example of the stiff consequences of election fraud.

It's simple: the House Bill 1303 election system, despite all the dire warnings and felonious "stunts," does work.

End of the Line For Jon Keyser’s Cheap Ballot Tricks

The Colorado Independent's John Tomasic bookends this week's odd story of Colorado GOP House candidate Jon Keyser, and his breathless allegations of a "failed system" after having received "two" mail-in ballots:

The mystery “duplicate ballot” was photographed, tweeted about and then shredded. In its internet afterlife, it was held up as evidence that recent electoral reforms centered around universal mail ballots were opening the state to fraud. In fact, the mystery ballot demonstrated that the system is working as well as it ever has done, and maybe better.

It took a few days and some digging, but now it’s clear that the ballot was a Delta County special election ballot. It was mailed to Republican state House candidate Jon Keyser, an attorney at major Colorado law firm Hogan Lovells and a former Air Force intelligence officer.

Keyser lives in Morrison, in Jefferson County, but he owns a Delta County parcel of land. He is eligible to vote in two elections. Keyser received two ballots in the mail because that’s how it works. They’re different ballots. He is being asked to vote in Jefferson County as a resident and on a long-term financing deal for Delta County’s Grand Mesa Water Conservancy District.

“We sent a property owners ballot to a Jonathan M. Keyser in Morrison for the one question,” confirmed Ann Eddins, Delta County clerk. [Pols emphasis]

Tomasic shows a photo of a blank ballot envelope supplied by the Delta County clerk, clearly stating that recipients "may receive a ballot from another political subdivision conducting an election on the same day." In Keyser's case, that would be his regular Jefferson County ballot, containing all statewide and local questions being voted on this year for Keyser's legal residence in Morrison. With these facts now settled, the GOP candidate who alleged these "two" ballots amounted to a "failed system" sounds a lot less agitated:

Keyser seems a little taken aback by the flap his tweet generated. He said he still believes that receiving two ballots, even if not duplicates, is evidence not perhaps of failure but of inefficiency.

“This clearly illuminates a bureaucratic inefficiency that can and should be improved,” he wrote to the Independent. “The county clerks and recorders have a difficult job. Hopefully we can come together and find a way to help streamline this process and save Colorado taxpayers some money at the same time.”

There it is: the walk back from "failed system" to "bureaucratic inefficiency." Just a misunderstanding on Keyser's part? Not likely when the envelope for the Delta County ballot clearly explains why he got it. Not likely because, quite frankly, we don't believe this Hogan Lovells attorney and former Air Force intelligence officer is that stupid. The campaign by partisan Republicans against this year's voting modernization legislation, House Bill 1303, has been completely over the top from the beginning–despite the fact that Republicans like Jefferson County Clerk Pam Anderson helped write the bill. In the end, the only known case of "vote fraud" resulting from any provision of the new law was a conservative activist making a highly ill-advised "demonstration."

Folks, when Keyser Tweeted out his photo of "two mail in ballots," with the second ballot's return address carefully concealed and none of the clarifying information on the back of the "second" ballot disclosed, saying only that he received "two mail in ballots" and that this was evidence of a "failed system," there is absolutely no mistaking his intentions. Keyser plainly was alleging that he had received the ability to vote twice on the same ballot questions, and we just don't buy the idea that he was unaware of exactly what the circumstances really were. Otherwise, why would he conceal the return address on the second ballot?

To perfectly, editorially honest about it, we are sick and tired of politicians–hell, anyone, but the best examples are politicians these days–who engage in deliberate, ridiculously obvious deception, and then try to act like we're all stupid when they're caught red-handed. Or in GOP House candidate Jonathan Keyser's case, red-balloted. The unfortunate truth is, Keyser's "two ballots" allegation and photo circulated far wider than the facts you now know ever will. Even though it's complete bullshit, this story is now a part of the right's "vote fraud" apocrypha.

If you care about the truth even a little, you should find that very frustrating.


Jon Keyser’s “Failed System?” So Much For That


As the Colorado Independent's John Tomasic reports:

Jon Keyser, a Republican candidate running for House District 25 in Jefferson County, reported receiving two ballots in the mail last week. He tweeted photos of them and suggested the state’s election system was unreliable. “C’mon Man! #FailedSystem” he wrote. Unfortunately, Keyser shredded one of the ballots, so there’s no way to gauge whether the system failed or not…

“Liberals and the media often are quick to dismiss the possibility of voter fraud, but Colorado’s new all-mail ballot system shows that there are gaps in the system,” the Peak Politics blog author wrote. “The lack of ballot security in Colorado elections stems from a bill passed last legislative session, HB13-1303. The bill required that mail ballots be sent to all registered voters, regardless of whether they are active…Who knows what other violations are out there?”

But a funny thing happened when qualified folks asked questions about this seemingly troubling story:

Jefferson County Clerk Pam Anderson, one of the many Republican clerks who supported the reform bill this year, called Keyser when she saw his tweet this weekend.

“We take this kind of thing very seriously,” she said. “It was clear to me that the bottom ballot in the photo was not a Jefferson County ballot. The label is different. The color is different. The indicia are different. It’s not one of ours…

“I asked if the ballot inside the envelopes were the same. He said he couldn’t remember and that he had destroyed the ballot.” [Pols emphasis]

As GOP Jefferson County Clerk Pam Anderson explained to the Independent, there's a possibility that the "second ballot" that HD-25 candidate Jonathan Keyser received was for a special taxing district election, perhaps for property Keyser owns outside of Jefferson County. The mailing label on the second mail ballot Keyser received wasn't printed with the high quality printing equipment used in Jefferson County–one of a number of details that made Anderson immediately suspicious of Keyser's claims to have received "two ballots."

If you look at the photo of Keyser's "two ballots" (above right, full size after the jump), you can see he conceals the return address on the second ballot–which has the crudely-printed label, compared to the Jefferson County ballot for which the return address is visible. That concealment, combined with the Republican Jefferson County Clerk's explanation, and the fact that Keyser now claims to have "shredded" the second ballot, and "can't remember" if the two ballots were for two different things, leads to one inescapable conclusion:

Jonathan Keyser, Republican candidate for the Colorado House, knows he was making this up.


Kennedy Enterprises On The Ground In Hudak Recall

UPDATE: Readers remind us of Twila Sue Peach, a two-years deceased voter who "signed" a Kennedy Enterprises petition, and other related allegations made during the recall of John Morse this past summer:



The Denver Post's Kurtis Lee buries the lede yet again–paragraph fifteen of today's story on the "grassroots" recall attempt underway against Sen. Evie Hudak of Arvada, which if successful would flip the Colorado Senate to Republicans:

[Recall organizer Mike] McAlpine said through small donations they are now paying only "two young" volunteers and hopes to gather 25,000 signatures.

But sources close to the recalls confirmed Tuesday that McAlpine is using Colorado Springs-based Kennedy Enterprises, [Pols emphasis] the firm that paid volunteers to gather signatures in the Morse recall. Kennedy has in the past received flak for not requiring background checks of employees.

Petition-gathering company Kennedy Enterprises is generally known for two things: a reputed 100% success rate in getting questions on the ballot via paid-per-signature petition drives, and controversy over the hiring of unscreened paid petition gatherers who potentially pose a risk to signers who give them their personal information. This isn't just a scare tactic from recall opponents: in 2008, Kennedy Enterprises conducted the petition drive for Amendment 47, that year's "right-to-work" anti-union ballot initiative. During that petition campaign, 9NEWS "found signature gatherers convicted of sexual assault on a child, theft, harassment, trespassing and drug possession" working for Kennedy Enterprises.

Kennedy Enterprises' lucrative pay scale for signatures, despite a nasty expose on KOAA-TV about the company's record, was instrumental in getting the recall of John Morse on the ballot in Senate District 11. Given the considerably higher number of signatures needed to initiate a recall election in Senate District 19, what we're talking about here could be the professional edge this "grassroots" recall effort needs to avoid embarrassment in early December. The fact is, given the constitutional loophole that prevents the delivery of mail ballots only in recall elections, and all the other attendant advantages of picking off swing legislators one by one in oddly-timed special elections, there's no reason to believe that this is going to stop. With a bankrolled effort to recall Sen. Hudak, we are now fully engulfed in an endless recall-driven free-for-all.

That is until, despite all the circumstantial leverage, they lose.

Gessler’s Big “Award”–The Rest of the Story

Secretary of State Scott Gessler.

Secretary of State Scott Gessler.

As the Denver Post's Ryan Parker sort-of reports:

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers presented Gessler the State Technology Innovator Award on Tuesday, according to a news release from the secretary of state's office.

Gessler introduced the country's first web-optimized site allowing citizens to update or verify voter registration using a smartphone or tablet following the 2012 primary election…

"Your leadership in Colorado is a shining example," NASCIO President Brenda Decker said in the release. "NASCIO and its members recognize that such leadership is critical to advancing citizen service, information sharing and good government, and we applaud you for your commitment to these efforts."

Now first of all, far be it from us to question the decision making process of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers in selecting Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler to receive this award, which is surely a nice thing to have drop in one's lap at the outset of a gubernatorial campaign. And we have to give Post reporter Ryan Parker the benefit of the doubt, since he's young and impressionable.

So he gets a pass, we suppose, for not having read this story from the very same Denver Post's Tim Hoover about that killer "web-optimized site" (what does that mean, by the way?) Gessler rolled out in 2012, for registering to vote by smartphone or tablet.

As it turned out, Gessler's "killer app" killed voter registrations.