HB-1131 to end citizen run precinct polling on election day withdrawn
Precinct polling places and paper poll books and citizen oversight are still with us for another year in Colorado, in spite of often repeated expectations of their end of life and the claims that opponents (that means us, at CFVI, in this case) have what the bill sponsor is calling "obsolete and misguided fears" about mail-in ballots.
Although the Denver Post printed both an editorial in favor of taking Colorado officially to an "all mail ballot state": http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_17343070 ...
and published a somewhat one sided story (in two places) immediately before the first committee meeting to consider 89 page House Bill 1131,
the bill's sponsor, by Castle Rock Representative Carol Murray (R) (previously a county clerk) asked the committee to "lay over" House Bill 1131 until a date after the last day of the legislative session. This has the effect of softly killing the bill without leaving an obviously negative track record. It also has the unfortunate effect of preventing, in most cases, the hearing of any opposition testimony, even though the bill sponsor received a full opportunity to present her case for the bill and to answer questions of the legislators. Hear that dialog here: HB1131b_Introduction_House_State_Affairs_2_10_11.amr (click the link below) or read it here:
In this case, however, only one proponent of the bill appeared for testimony,a clear indication that the proponents were supremely organized in a well informed group (of county clerks, in this case). While lots of citizens showed up to oppose, they were unaware that the bill would be "laid over" at the request of the sponsor, something that it became obvious that the proponent clerks were told ahead of time. The State Affairs Committee Chair, Jim Kerr, generously allowed those with a "burning desire" to testify, asking them to be brief since, in effect, they had already "won".
One opponent, Allison Maynard, actually spent as much time speaking in opposition as the bill sponsor consumed in promotion of the bill. Maynard's testimony can be heard in file HB1131b_Maynard_House_State_Affairs_2_10_11 below. The remaining brief testimony and votes against the bill are in file HB1131c_Other_Testimony_House_State_Affairs_2_10_11.amr below.
Members of CFVI worked overtime during the prior week to write material and lobby legislators on the many weaknesses of the mail ballot, particularly the replacement of election day polling places with so-called "service centers". Some of those materials are linked at the end of this article.
Here is what the Colorado legislative web site says about the bill: "HB11-1131 FINAL VOTE - Moved to lay over House Bill 11-1131 to May 16th, effectively Postponing Indefinitely the bill. The motion passed on an 8-0-1 roll call vote." (http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/CGA-LegislativeCouncil/CLC/12515688...)
Here is the Denver Post coverage of the committee's decision:
Note that the bill sponsor believes her opposition is from the "far left and the Tea Partyers"- showing that no stone will be unturned in an attempt to demonize the opposition (namely, among others, us) to this bill and the multi-year well funded effort to move the state away from citizen run precinct polling places.
Citizen and voluntary election quality activist
[The files attached below are suitable for listening on computers and cell phones.]