"When they allow a talk show host to play them like a two-dollar banjo, they demonstrate what kind of backbone they'll bring to the job later on, if we elect them. After they get elected will they continue to allow Jeff Crank to put a nickel in them and wind them up every Saturday morning?"

Barry Noreen, former columnist, Colorado Springs Gazette

Sunday, November 14, 2010


“Post-Election Musings”
by John Alexander Madison
November 15, 2010


Electioneering/Exit Polling: One section of Colorado’s Title 1 (election law) prohibits ‘any election related activity taking place within 100 feet of a polling place, except the conduct of election.’ The intention is to maintain a sense of order by disallowing candidates and advocacy groups from influencing or harassing voters (electioneering) prior to entering a polling place. That seems reasonable. However, the Colorado Secretary of State dictates that exit polling is allowed within the 100 foot limit in direct conflict with the law. Does this seem inconsistent to you? If exit pollsters want to conduct an exit poll about the favorite ice cream of Republicans and Democrats I don’t see a problem. However, if an exit pollster is asking citizens how they voted on candidates or issues and that takes place within the 100 foot limit is that not an ‘election-related activity?’ Of course, it is. To add to the confusion, and in a lame attempt at comedy, Secretary of State Buescher published a list of “Top 10 in 2010” election guidelines with #3 stating: “Don’t discuss a candidate or ballot issue within 100 feet of your polling location.” So while the Secretary insists that exit polling can take place within the electioneering zone, the Secretary is also telling voters not to talk with members of the media conducting such polls. He advocates for exit polling on the one hand, but admonished voters to not participate. How confusing. Not surprisingly, Governor Ritter appointee Buescher was defeated on November 2nd.

Question: How can we avoid polling place conflicts between election law and Secretary of State directives?
Answer: Support legislative efforts to establish all mail ballot elections in Colorado.


Polling Places: Independent groups claiming to represent citizens as advocates for fair elections are as predictable as Puxatawny Phil on Ground Hog Day…popping up annually like clockwork, just prior to elections. Their issue? They oppose the use of churches as polling places. “Separation of church and state,” they holler, “what don’t you understand about separation of church and state?” We understand fully. The First Amendment to the Constitution of this Christian nation states, in part, that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of a religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” In other words, separation of church and state is a fabricated concept by the left wing, secular progressives. It seems that use of church community rooms are among the most logical, convenient and effective community polling places. This is especially true due to increasing safety issues at schools which are becoming ever more difficult to utilize.

Question: How can we avoid conflicts with those who cannot accept churches as election polling places?
Answer: Support legislative efforts to establish all mail ballot elections in Colorado.


Election night results: Candidates, citizens, and the media should know that election night results are unofficial. Election officials then have seventeen days in Colorado to certify the election during the canvass period. So what’s the hurry to get unofficial results on election night? Best practices dictate that no election night results should be released until all voters have cast their ballots at their polling places. Does anyone disagree? Today, nearly fourteen days into the post-election audit in El Paso County, Colorado as many as four ballot items remain in doubt and await the final election audit.

Question: How can we ensure that the results of a majority of votes cast in an election be released mere minutes after 7:00 p.m. on election day?
Answer: Support legislative efforts to establish all mail ballot elections in Colorado.


Election Watchers and Observers: While all election processes include citizen election judges from the major political parties, advocates for open elections insist on and Colorado law allows for participation by election poll watchers and observers. In that regard, watchers are very limited in their participation in order to allow poll workers and election judges to conduct polling place activities and post-elections audits with minimal interference. This creates polling place tension among all involved persons.

Question: How can we minimize tensions and frustrations among election judges and polling place watchers?
Answer: Support legislative efforts to establish all mail ballot elections in Colorado



EPILOGUE

All Mail ballot elections: The concept of all mail ballot elections was first established in Oregon ten years ago. The State of Washington has followed suit. Many others states are moving in that direction. Colorado is among them. A decade ago, Colorado voters rejected the option of all mail ballots elections. In the ensuing ten years a large majority of voters have chosen to become Permanent Mail-In Voters (PMIV). Others submit mail-in ballot requests on an annual basis. On a statewide basis the number of those voting prior to election day is now approaching 75% of all voters.

In a 2007 informal survey, sixty of Colorado’s sixty-four county clerks advocated for all mail-in elections in Colorado

It should be noted that all methods of voting (polling places, early voting or mail ballots) require election officials to follow election law, established election rules, processes and procedures.

No honest assessment of this issue by election officials and informed citizens can reach any other conclusion than all mail-in ballots elections are the safest, most secure and accurate type of election to conduct. What more could the citizens of Colorado want or demand?

The fact that mail in ballot elections are also considerably less expensive to conduct is an added benefit.



Footnote: As if several close races weren’t bringing enough attention to El Paso County’s November 2, 2010 election results many voters appear to be outraged about the wording of the ballot issues to extend term limits for county officials.
The question being asked is did the county commissioners intentionally deceive voters into extending term limits by craftily wording term limit ballot initiatives or were they merely giving voters an opportunity to extend terms limits to three terms? What do you think?


Stay tuned.


#64

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