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.


Neguse Off To Strong Start in SoS Race

CU Regent Joe Neguse (D).

CU Regent Joe Neguse (D).

A press release today from the campaign of Democratic CU Regent Joe Neguse, running for Secretary of State against GOP El Paso County Clerk Wayne Williams, shows good performance out of the gate with over $100,000 raised in the last 6 days of Q2 and his first whole quarter of fundraising:

Joe Neguse filed his official paperwork on June 24, 2013 making him a candidate for Secretary of State of Colorado.  With less than seven days to fundraise for the second financial quarter that ended June 30th, the campaign raised $28,484.37 from 228 unique contributors (which surpassed any other previous candidates for Secretary of State in both total contributions and total number of contributors in their inaugural financial quarters).  Today, the campaign is proud to announce that Neguse has broken a new fundraising goal, having raised $73,926.95 in its first full quarter, bringing the total to over $100,000 in less than 100 days.

Former Secretary of State Bernie Buescher, Congressmen Jared Polis and Ed Perlmutter, and former State Treasurer Cary Kennedy joined over 600 other individuals in making a monetary contribution to Neguse's campaign. 
“On the heels of an impressive campaign roll out, these unprecedented fundraising numbers are further proof that voters are eager to support Neguse’s candidacy,” said Senior Strategist Craig Hughes.
For his 2010 campaign, Scott Gessler filed on Jan. 5, 2009, giving him January 5, 2009 to March 31, 2009 to raise funds in his inaugural financial quarter.  He reported $24,525 raised from 47 contributors. His first full quarter was April 1st-June 30, 2009, in which he reported $12,859.00 raised.

Watch for this race to garner more attention in the coming months. Sources confirm to us today that GOP Jefferson County Clerk Pam Anderson will not be running for Secretary of State. The popular and moderate Anderson–one of the prime architects of this year's election modernization law, House Bill 1303–would have made for a much tougher race for Neguse. Now, against the avowedly partisan Williams as the likely Republican nominee, Neguse looks very strong–and the stakes are higher for Democrats to ensure Williams doesn't get the job.

A Few Words on HD13 and Levy’s Resignation

First of all, term limits are a horrible idea. But that's not what I'm here to discuss, so I one start to dig into all the reasons why. But I will address one of them. Term limits result in lawmakers going job-hunting before their time in office is over. 

The case in point is Rep. Claire Levy (D-HD13) who is leaving her seat in the State House at the end of October to take a position with the Colorado Center on Law and Policy. 

If she had stayed, the 2014 session would have been her last, so some might have trouble seeing the difference. 

But I think there is a big difference. And lawmakers who leave their post the year before they are term limited is one of the worst and most damaging elements of our state's system. 

And here is why:

Before Levy had announced she would be resigning, the race to replace her in the 2014 election had already begun. Two Dem candidates, Tad Kline ( and KC Becker ( had already announced their intention to run for the seat next year. But that race, which would have been a spirited and interesting primary, decided by the voters in HD13, will now be decided by a couple dozen Dems on October 19th. If either of them is chosen by the vacancy committee, they will now be the incumbent when caucuses roll around and are unlikely to be challenged. And that isn't right. 

The person who serves in this seat for the next 8 years should be chosen during an election, not a back-room coronation. 

There is hope, though. Two additional candidates, George Clark and Zane Laubham, have expressed interest in filling the vacancy for the remaining 15 months of Levy's term, but have not declared candidacy for the 2014 race. The vacancy committee has the opportunity, here, to appoint someone who has no interest in keeping the seat for 2015, so that a legitimate election can still be held. 

I don't know anything about the candidates (another one of the down-sides of the vacancy process is a low amount of information), but if either Clark or Laubham are willing to commit to not running and they are reasonably qualified for the spot, I would encourage the vacancy committee to select that person and give the voters of HD13 an opportunity to choose their own representative through the normal election process. 

Gov. Hickenlooper: Local Control Is Best, Except In Colorado?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Just last week, Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado was questioned by a health care professional who asked the governor why he continued to be a party to a lawsuit against the town of Longmont even as they continue to pick up the pieces from devastating flooding.  He evaded any definitive answer but did say, “We didn’t do that because we wanted to, and “we will certainly address all the issues.” 

If you haven’t seen this video, take a look. It’s worth seeing the reaction from Gov. Hickenlooper.

It appears that Gov. Hickenlooper is willing to stump for the oil and gas industry and oppose water, air, and public health protections from oil and gas drilling at all levels of government.


Alternative Voting Methods

Perhaps I can get some traction over here. (Perhaps not).

I believe plurality voting, when more than two candidates are on a ballot, is absurd.

I was converted to a belief in alternative voting methods after reading William Poundstone's book, "Gaming the Vote: Why Elections Aren't Fair (and What We Can Do About it)."

An excerpt from the book jacket:

At least five U.S. presidential elections have been won by the second most popular candidate, but these results were not inevitable. In fact, such an unfair outcome need never happen again, and as William Poundstone shows in Gaming the Vote, the solution is lurking right under our noses.
In all five cases, the vote was upset by a “spoiler”—a minor candidate who took enough votes away from the most popular candidate to tip the election to someone else. The spoiler effect is more than a glitch. It is a consequence of one of the most surprising intellectual discoveries of the twentieth century: the “impossibility theorem” of the Nobel laureate economist Kenneth Arrow. His theorem asserts that voting is fundamentally unfair—a finding that has not been lost on today’s political consultants. Armed with polls, focus groups, and smear campaigns, political strategists are exploiting the mathematical faults of the simple majority vote. The answer to the spoiler problem lies in a system called range voting, which would satisfy both right and left, and Gaming the Vote assesses the obstacles confronting any attempt to change the U.S. electoral system.
The latest of several books by Poundstone on the theme of how important scientific ideas have affected the real world, Gaming the Vote is both a wry exposé of how the political system really works and a call to action.
I seek your thoughts, both pro and con. Muchas gracias.
David K. Williams, Jr.

“Honey Badger Lite”–Wayne Williams For Secretary of State

El Paso County Clerk Wayne Williams.

El Paso County Clerk Wayne Williams.

FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports:

El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams, a Republican, filed paperwork Tuesday to run for Colorado Secretary of State.

Williams, whose office oversaw a chaotic and controversial recall election in Colorado Springs last month, is currently the only Republican seeking to replace Scott Gessler, who is one of four candidates seeking the GOP’s nomination for governor next year…

Earlier this year, he firmly opposed the Democratic bill that overhauled the state’s election law, allowing for same-day voter registration and shifting all 64 county clerks to one electronic database that can track voter information in real time.

One of current Secretary of State Scott Gessler's closest allies, El Paso County Clerk Wayne Williams' holdout opposition to this year's election reform bill, House Bill 1303–while most county clerks in the state supported the bill–reportedly led him to resign from the Colorado Association of County Clerks. More recently, Williams' judgment was questioned in the recall elections after early voting locations and hours set up by his office were substantially more restricted compared to much better early voting accessibility in neighboring Pueblo. Detractors point to a much lower resulting turnout in SD-11 versus the SD-3 recall election in Pueblo. In Williams' defense, litigation from a minor-party candidate in SD-11 held up the works for awhile–but that doesn't fully explain the shorter hours and fewer locations even after that was resolved.


New Census Data for Colorado Congressional Districts.

The Census has released new data on congressional districts, including those in Colorado. The peeps at (warning: Google Doc)  Daily Kos put together a useful spreadsheet of the racial/ethnic makeup of our congressional districts.

Of particular interest to  me was Mike Coffman's Co-6 district, which as many of you might expect is one of the most diverse in Colorado. In fact, Co-6 has the second smallest white population of any district with only 62 percent of the population being white. Only the Denver-based Co-1 is less white. Co-6 has the largest African-American (9 percent) and Asian populations (6 percent) and a significant 20 percent Hispanic population.

Colorado progressives have of course been looking long and hard at Mike Coffman's much more swingy district and this new data gives us even more opportunity to target the diverse voters of his district. Coffman after all has been against immigration reform and immigrants generally, going as far as saying that we should get rid of birthright citizenship to stop those horrible "anchor" babies from becoming citizens.

Well, my bet is the CO-6 has quite a few of "birthright" citizens that would love to get the opportunity to vote against odious, extreme-right Mike Coffman. And now that we have this new data, we can better target them and make sure CO-6 is represented by someone who will fight for and not against them.

Anyway, take a look at the new data for Colorado. It's definitely some interesting stuff to look at for these upcoming elections.