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.