Public Loses Election Transparency and Secret Ballot
Note: This is a Colorado Voter Group press release on signing of Colorado HB 12-1036 (CORA ballot transparency)
June 7, 2012
Boulder – Colorado Governor Hickenlooper has signed the controversial, two-subject HB-1036 which deals with open records and elections.
By shielding all election records, including untraceable ballots, from public inspection, the bill blocks the public from looking for election discrepancies until after election results have been certified. “After certification is too late to constructively correct any errors or fraud we may discover,” says Mary Eberle of Coloradans for Voting Integrity.
A secretive non-profit organization called Colorado County Clerks Association lobbied heavily to get the bill passed and signed into law. A band of citizens and non profit public interest groups energetically resisted the efforts of at least five professional lobbyists working for the CCCA and professional lobbyists working for other associations of officials through the legislative session.
Harvie Branscomb is an unpaid election integrity advocate from Eagle County, and a Colorado Voter Group Trustee. He followed the election part of the bill from its inception to today's signing. Branscomb spent weeks tracking the bill with frequent trips to the Capitol, and repeated attempts to communicate with legislators and public. He asked the Legislature to preserve election transparency by giving Coloradans the constitutionally mandated "secret ballot" voting method that calls for every ballot to be untraceable and available to count in public. He wound up instead working to stop a bill that hides from citizens and the press our tabulated sometimes traceable ballots but allows the clerks and other election officials to see them and "interested parties" to see and copy them.
Branscomb is disappointed and says, “Colorado elections have gone behind closed doors through increased mechanization and centralization. Digital scanning technology is just beginning to make sharing of untraceable ballots cheap and easy. This no time to shutter a window through which citizens could do their own independent count of an election contest."
Branscomb asks: "Clerks and legislators were unwilling to give us even one "Sunshine Day" to access untraceable voted ballots during the period when canvass boards are checking election quality. Why not?”
(see attached http://cfvi.us/HB1036notes)