State To Send Official To Oversee Springs Elections


Weeks before the elections will even take place, the controversy surrounding the results continues to heat up, and now a state official will be sent to oversee Colorado Springs municipal elections.

A group of candidates for strong mayor and city council banded together last week and requested that the Secretary of State Scott Gessler to send an elections official to oversee the results, implying they do not trust Colorado Springs City Clerk Kathryn Young to handle the election results accurately.

The following is the official letter of request sent to the Secretary of State Scott Gessler's office:

March 15, 2011
Secretary of State Scott Gessler
Colorado Department of State
1700 Broadway, Denver, CO 80290
Secretary Gessler:
In the last several months there have been ongoing concerns regarding Colorado Springs City Clerk Kathryn Young and her office.
We now lack confidence that the upcoming Municipal Election will be conducted in a fair and unbiased manner. We are asking your office to step in, observe, and ensure a honest and transparent election process.
Ms. Young and her office have made numerous errors causing confusion among candidates for both City Council and Mayor.
These errors include:
1. Tearing up legally collected petitions for a Council candidate in District 3.
2. Incorrect order for the initial ballot listing of Council candidates for District 2.
3. Changing the published date that ballots would be mailed to voters.
4. Creating confusion regarding legality of municipal candidates receiving corporate contributions.
Due to the passage of the Strong Mayor city charter amendment in November, 2010, Ms. Young, for the first time, will be directly affected by the outcome of this election. Can she be an unbiased, objective election official given these circumstances?
We, the undersigned, now lack confidence in the Colorado Springs City Clerk and her office to ensure the April 5, 2011 Municipal Election is fair, honest, and transparent.
We hereby make a formal request of your office to send a state Elections Official to observe the Colorado Springs City Clerk and her office as they mail, receive, and count the ballots for the April 5, 2011 Municipal Election.
As ballots are intended to be mailed this coming Wednesday, March 16, 2011 we ask for an immediate response to this request.

Brian Bahr, Candidate for Mayor
Tom Gallagher, Candidate for Mayor
Buddy Gilmore, Candidate for Mayor
Lisa Czelatdko, Candidate for City Council District 3
Angela Dougan, Candidate for City Council District 2

Mayor Rivera, along with Young, responded by saying the city clerk's office is perfectly capable of handling an election accurately and responsibly, as they've done for several previous elections.

"The City Clerk for the City of Colorado Springs has run numerous elections. The April 2011 election will be run with complete transparency and in accordance with all state laws, as usual, according to Mayor Lionel Rivera in a letter to Secretary of State Scott Gessler. The media is also invited to observe as the results begin posting at the City Administration Building after the polls close at 7 PM April 5, 2011."

Now, the Secretary of State says they will indeed send an elections official to observe the proceedings of Election Night. The following was sent from the office of the Secretary of State Friday:

Today Secretary of State Scott Gessler announced his office will designate an election observer for the April 5th municipal election in Colorado Springs. The designation is welcomed by City Clerk Kathryn Young and comes in response to her request and requests for oversight by several candidates in the election.

“We all share the desire for open and fair elections,” Secretary Gessler said. “We welcome the opportunity to send observers from the Secretary of State’s office at the invitation of the city. I compliment Clerk Young’s willingness to be open and transparent. And we also thank the candidates for working to ensure the integrity of the election.”

Following discussions with city officials, members of the Secretary of State’s office will be present in the formal election observer role. That means observing all processes involved in the preparation and conduct of the election.

The municipal elections will take place Tuesday, April 5. Ballots have been mailed out to registered voters and must be either mailed back or dropped off at one of the designed drop-off locations by 7 p.m. on April 5. Click on the link below for more information on elections and to meet all of the seven strong mayor candidates.

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  • by AJ Location: COS on Mar 18, 2011 at 04:15 PM
    Watch Hacking Democracy.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 18, 2011 at 04:14 PM
    Rob, it gets even creepier if the machine is manufactured by Diebold. Now, that's an interesting machine!
  • by Rob Location: Duh: Colo. Spgs. on Mar 17, 2011 at 07:54 PM
    When I lived in Fort Collins, the mail-in ballot seemed straight-forward and respectable. These mail-in ballots in Colorado Springs have seemed suspicious since the first one - and continue to seem suspect. I have had problems with these Colorado Springs mail-in ballots since the first time we used them. I would even go so far as to call it hate brought on by fear. I should not fear my government. My government should fear me. Firstly, the way it's designed, it's far from a secret ballot. There are two ways for the City Clerk to know how every citizen voted. I've heard that the only way to know your vote has been counted is to go downtown on election day where, rumor has it, you can run your own ballot through the machine. The design seems to be a blatant attempt to eliminate as many ballots as possible for the most idiotic reasons. The components of the ballot appear to have been designed and assembled by Kindergarten students: with a "security sleeve" shorter than the ballot; 1/3 inch of it sealed to cause the ballot to stick out even further; resulting in a final assembly wider than the return envelope. Then, how many hands must this ballot go through before it is even considered for validity? After that, how many more hands must it go through before it is fed through the voting machine? Every of those hands can have an unfortunate effect on your ballot. When I go to my polling place, I carry my ballot all the way to the point where the top stub is removed. I feed it into the machine. I watch the counter increment. It would take some far more clandestine forces to keep my vote from being counted. I guess the only thing I want from the City is for the City to provide proof to me that my vote was counted and counted correctly. In summary, the letter did not go far enough. It needed to request an entire team to handle this election and keep our City out of it.
    • reply
      by Bert on Mar 18, 2011 at 09:08 AM in reply to Rob
      I kind of agrre but would rather just do away with the mail in ballot, at some point in order to be heard you must take a stand go out into the world to be heard. I think this might also get rid of alot of the dead people that keep voting.
  • by Scott on Mar 16, 2011 at 12:38 AM
    @Bert: Just to clarify, Arnold no longer holds the position of Governor for California. I'm very happy, for the Springs' sake, that a strong mayor will be put in place. Finally, a step in the right direction!
    • reply
      by Bert on Mar 18, 2011 at 09:06 AM in reply to Scott
      Sorry about that scott I wasnt trying to mislead or misdirect I just used the wrong tense in my reference. Thank you in your diligence of pointing this out, once again I do apologize.
  • by yep Location: cs on Mar 15, 2011 at 10:00 PM
    That's pretty smart Nath, that sums it up.
  • by RatFinkDude Location: CS on Mar 15, 2011 at 06:11 PM
    Nath-Seems like these shady elections happen frequently here in Colorado.
  • by Nath Location: Colo Spgs on Mar 15, 2011 at 03:41 PM
    If there are concerns, the best way to address them is to have an outside neutral observation, otherwise the questions will remain after the election.
  • by j Location: 1 on Mar 15, 2011 at 03:11 PM
    I actually considered supporting this... Then I saw Gallaghers name at the bottom.
  • by Bert Location: West Side on Mar 15, 2011 at 01:40 PM
    Thats funny a government official saying that something is biased and unfair. She probably didnt accept their "contributions". We need to get the professional politicians out and put regular honest people in. Think Reganomics as bad as it sounds look at Arnold in Cali he is actualy doing a somewhat decent job. He's taken alot of the overpaid city / state workers down to a legitimate level. No I dont want cali laws or legislature out here but if were gonna look to them for the lame laws we should look at the good ones too. Plus their snow gets moved alot faster than ours.
  • by What about the Voters? Location: Colorado Springs on Mar 15, 2011 at 12:57 PM
    The candidates should be concerned but why is there no mention in their letter about the fact that a very large percentage of the voting public will not receive ballots because they did not vote in the last election? Since when is a registered voter's right to vote contingent on whether or not they voted in the last election? Troubling...
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