“Chicken Littles” win in Colorado: Ironically, a new official Privileged Class

A new official eyes-only ballot secrecy law just passed and was signed by the Governor of Colorado. Denver Post Editorial <read>

Too bad. Colorado now has an election system with a privileged class of people — not only candidates but also political parties and representatives of issue committees that gave money to ballot measures — who may inspect voted ballots when everyone else, including the media, is excluded.

Those of us in the non-privileged majority will not have access to voted ballots until after elections are certified — too late, citizen activists persuasively argue, for effective public oversight. Many of those activists, it should be noted, have followed election issues closely for years and know a thing or two about them, too.

Ironically, the legislation was supposedly about protecting citizen access to election records, even though the courts had done a pretty good job in that regard during the run-up to the legislative session. It seems clear in retrospect that the bill was designed in part to help clerks keep the pesky public at bay and to insulate current procedures that the clerks themselves admit leave some ballots traceable…

Rather than try to resolve underlying problems that lead to potentially traceable ballots, the new law simply grants clerks broad discretion to hold back problematic ballots from open-records requests.

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