Will Democratic lawmakers take the first legislative step Monday, January 27, to decriminalize election fraud and openly promote lawless local elections? Set for a likely partisan vote in House State Affairs is a bill so outrageous that it deserves national media attention and most certainly the urgent attention of voters. Those voters should demand that this bill be sent to the trash heap. HB14-1164, addressing local elections, does not merit the euphemistic “PI’d” –(postponed indefinitely.)
Want to vote in multiple districts to help your favorite local candidates? No problem. HB1164 requires no residency period in order to vote. Take friends on a voting tour and vote in all the districts you please, having some vague “intent” to move there of course.
Need some extra voters to push your friend to victory in the hospital board race or to increase the property tax rate? Register for that election with numerous fictitious names, as HB1164 lifts all criminal penalties and punishment for false registrations for local elections.
Concerned about the widely publicized irregularities in Broomfield’s November election on fracking, now in litigation? HB1164 wipes away all HB1303 sins committed in the November election and decrees that all Fall 2013 elections were legal and valid! Want to be a local “kingmaker?” Get yourself appointed as the Designated Election Official for a local elections for fire district, recreation district, etc., and you can control the outcome. You can hire and fire the counting judges, toss the press and watchers out of the counting rooms, conceal the records, and unilaterally conduct any recounts.
Like the idea of being the powerful Designated Election Official but don’t like reading statutes and rules? With 1164 there is no need to read those dusty books. This bill allows the local official to pick any election code provisions they like, and only the ones they like. So just pick a few statutes requiring no real work, and you’re good. And no one can sue you, because there’s no written election code to violate.
Don’t want to deal with oversight from the Secretary of State’s office and their annoying election rules? Not an issue. The new election code cuts the Secretary of State out of any oversight or rule-making role for local elections. In the past they had the duty to make rules; now they may only “recommend” procedures for local elections.
You prefer high tech ways of manipulating an election? HB1164 was written for you. It allows computerized voting systems in local elections, and it lifts all those pesky security rules and testing that the Secretary of State demands. An election hacker’s dream.
Representative Dickey Lee Hullinghorst (D-Boulder) is the mover behind this bill (HB1164) purportedly designed to address the problems she and since-recalled Senator Giron foisted on voters with last year’s HB1303—the elections “modernization” bill. The 133 page “fix-it” bill (HB1164) is dense and difficult to comprehend. Hullinghorst and her colleagues created 104 pages of election code nightmares with HB1303, and now they are promoting 133 pages to fix last year’s 104 pages! It is no surprise that it’s being rushed through the legislature on an emergency basis. The “emergency” was predicted and ignored last April when1303 made certain local elections virtually unworkable.
The bill would impact elections of up to 2000 local districts and jurisdictions. The potential impacts on local taxes and local services are massive from this attempt to allow lawless local elections that can be easily and legally manipulated. Citizens of all political views who believe in local self-governance, local control and election integrity must demand that Hullinghorst and her co-sponsors Representative Murray and Senators Roberts and Ulibarri pull this bill and not legitimize it with hearings and debates. This bill and its “emergency” process look like nothing more than Chapter 2 in some lawmakers’ determined efforts to make a mockery of the people’s elections.
Stay tuned for results of HB14-1164’s first hearing. Most predict that those bent on destroying all integrity in Colorado elections will have another success to report.
Marilyn Marks is the president of Citizen Center, a non-partisan, non-profit organization focused on election integrity.