What The Hell Do You MEAN 3,000 Ballots Isn’t a Problem?

Secretary of State Wayne Williams (R).

FOX 31 reports while we shake our heads incredulously:

More than 3,100 votes have been thrown out in Colorado because unaffiliated voters turned in Democratic and Republican ballots…

Secretary of State Wyane Williams acknowledges the votes will be discarded but said the number is not as high as some predicted a few years ago.

“Several thousand unaffiliated Coloradans who did turn in two ballots — those ballots cannot be counted,” Williams said.

When asked if they could ask if anything can be done between now and when polls close Tuesday, Williams said no. [Pols emphasis]

Let’s put a little context on this situation. After the 2016 elections, CBS4 breathlessly reported about several cases of apparent voter fraud using mail ballots that were sent to voters who had died, moved, or otherwise not themselves lawfully voted. In other cases–and we’re talking about maybe a dozen cases–voters who received ballots in Colorado and Kansas voted both. These few individual cases, which in turn led to a handful of convictions, seemed to be a very serious matter to Secretary of State Wayne Williams and other officials who generally happened to be Republican:

“We do believe there were several instances of potential vote fraud that occurred,” said Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams after reviewing the CBS4 findings. “It shows there is the potential for fraud.”

The cases of dead men and women casting ballots ranged from El Paso County in southern Colorado to Denver and Jefferson County. CBS4 discovered the fraudulent voting by comparing databases of voting histories in Colorado against a federal death database…

“That’s illegal,” said El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Chuck Broerman, who called the CBS4 findings “very serious.”

“I was shocked and surprised at this,” said Broerman. “This cannot happen. We cannot have this here or anyplace in our country. Our democracy depends on it. People have spilled their blood for the values and underpinnings and beliefs of this country.” [Pols emphasis]

Got that, readers? “This cannot happen. Our democracy depends on it.” In Colorado’s recent history we’ve heard repeated wild allegations that massive election fraud was flipping elections in this state for years before Donald Trump made it one of his go-to talking points. Former Secretary of State Scott Gessler baselessly claimed that “tens of thousands” of people voted illegally in Colorado, an investigation that in the end uncovered a whopping four alleged cases of fraud. In terms of actual voter fraud convictions, one of the only bonafide examples is former Colorado GOP chairman Steve Curtis–who voted his ex-wife’s ballot and paid a humiliating price. But in all of these cases, as the inflated predictions dwindled down to the reality of a dozen or so actual cases, Republican vote fraud “truthers” insisted that every individual ballot was a sacred component of our small-d democracy, and that one single wrongful vote could endanger our liberty at a fundamental level.

But forget all that in 2018, Colorado–because over three thousand people either broke the rules of the primary election or couldn’t comprehend them, and to the same Secretary of State Williams, that’s no big deal! Because of the passage of the frightfully ill-conceived Proposition 108 in 2016, unaffiliated voters in Colorado were sent perhaps the most counterintuitive piece of election mail in the history of election mail. They were sent two ballots, but they could only vote on one. And as it turns out, no amount of accompanying instruction was able to overcome either devious nature or stupidity in the case of thousands. Of. Voters.

So…what are we going to do about this? If there wasn’t a huge amount of money and influence behind the true goals of Proposition 108, which was to further undermine the role of the parties and open primaries to shenanigans for anyone with the money to play, these three thousand voters would be a cause célèbre–either as villains or as victims. That the Secretary of State is leading the campaign to downplay the significance of these thousands of votes is…well, it’s every bit as hypocritical as it looks.

And make no mistake, thousands of votes not being counted is a big problem. Of course it’s a big problem. If you don’t think that’s a big problem, you have absolutely no business running (or running in) an election. As we said before, if the margin of discarded unaffiliated primary ballots proves decisive in any race today, it’s a full-scale disaster. Even short of that, if ever there was a situation where the legislature should intervene to correct a misguided statutory change by popular vote, this is it.

18 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Zappatero says:

    Keep it civil Pols. Just an honest diff of opinion. Republicans have every right to interpret or ignore any law they like. Pointing it out is rude. Decorum should be maintained at all times, especially near the detainment camps. 

  2. Republican 36 says:

    I don't see your point on this one. Secretary of State Williams did not say throwing out 3,100 unaffiliated ballots wasn't important. He simply said there was nothing that can be done about it before the ballots are counted this evening and he's right.

    Besides that, as of this morning 198,103 unaffiliated voters were able to read the instructions and they understood they could only vote in one primary. Most voters understand.

    This is the first primary election where unaffiliated voters can vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary. Secretary Williams should review the instructions and look into why some people thought they could vote in both primaries and make adjustments according to his findings but to characterize his response to a question about whether anything can be done about the disqualified ballots as cavalier and not caring is incorrect.

    • bullshit! says:

      I think the point is that Williams got worked up about a couple cases of voting twice, but isn't upset about 3,000 votes that won't be counted. That's textbook hypocrisy.

      • Republican 36 says:

        There is nothing in Secretary Williams' comments that even remotely suggests he doesn't believe disqualifying 3,100 unaffiliated votes isn't important. Based on the reports cited, he was never asked that question. Until he is asked, no one should put words or thoughts into his mouth or mind.

        • bullshit! says:

          He's clearly downplaying it in the FOX 31 story. Come on, do you work for him or something?

          Politics is also about what you don't say.

          • Republican 36 says:

            I don't work for Secretary Williams. I looked at the Fox31 video again and Secretary Williams said nothing to downplay the fact 3,100 ballots cannot be counted because some voters voted in both primaries. He merely stated the facts. He did not characterize or place any qualitative bent on that fact.

            • bullshit! says:

              Secretary of State Wyane Williams acknowledges the votes will be discarded but said the number is not as high as some predicted a few years ago.

              That's downplaying. I don't even see why you're arguing about it.

  3. Pseudonymous says:

    In the 2016 general election in Denver, in the race for president alone, there were 2,894 overvotes.  Nearly 3,000 folks' vote didn't count.  Where was the sturm und drang then?  That's only in Denver.  How many more thousands of people had votes callously tossed aside in just this one race without any effort from the government to "protect" them from this disenfranchisement?  Why are these folks, who cast more votes than they are allowed, unworthy of support?  Listen, just say the real problem you have with 108– you don't want unaffiliateds voting in your primary.  I and the rest of my fellow Us will get along fine.

    • bullshit! says:

      I don't speak for Pols. But you know what? I don't want unaffiliated voters in my Democratic primary. Join my party, help build it, help guide its direction for real, or fuck off and vote in the general like every other entitled asshole who thinks they're above it all. 

      Nothing personal, but fuck this.

  4. RepealAndReplace says:

    They should toss them. If people cannot follow directions, do you really want them making decisions on candidate and ballot issues. Look what we got in 2016 courtesy of too many stupid people voting.

  5. bullshit! says:

    If you want to vote in the Democratic primary, register Democratic. You can do it and then switch back after. Sending two ballots to voters is a bad idea, period. Now there's proof. Prop 108 was a solution in search of a problem from the beginning.

  6. gertie97 says:

    I'm not going to lose a wink of sleep over would-be voters who are too dumb to follow basic instructions.


  7. Negev says:

    I got 2 ballots. It came with pretty simple instructions. I think both parties could agree that if you are too stupid to get this right, you probably voted for the other party anyway so good riddance. 

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