I committed an act of civil obedience.
I’ve lived in Boulder for nearly 30 years, yet I just cast a ballot in the Colorado Springs recall election. I did so by legally using the irresponsibly lax new election law.
Now, we might not agree on policy or even political candidates, but I hope we all agree that everyone should know their full voting rights. Our election law changed drastically when Governor Hickenlooper signed into law House Bill 13-1303. And everyone, not just the political team that concocted and rushed it through the process, should know how the law works and their new rights under it.
My act of civil obedience proved a simple truth – under this law voters can now be legally shuffled around in the last moments of a campaign, to any district around the state where their votes are needed most.
If this law stands, the future of Colorado elections will be decided by which campaign has the most buses.
Notably, HB-1303 forced elections to use mail-in ballots. Meaning if you are registered to vote, your ballot will be flung through the mail like a grocery store coupon, whether you want it to or not. As sloppy as that is, that’s not the worst part.
HB-1303 permits you to register and vote the same day in any district in Colorado you like, no matter where you were living just moments before. Basically anyone who has been, well, anywhere in Colorado for 22 days (a pleasant 3 week vacation), has an address in the district, and is over 18 can now vote in any district, anywhere in the state on election day if they affirm they have the “intention” of making that district their permanent home.
To educate voters of their new voter rights we created www.BringInTheVote.com, where you can get more details. But to drive the point home, I went to a polling location in the Springs, told them I’m living there now and I’d like to vote. I signed the form, they gave me a ballot, and I cast it. Read the Denver Post story here:http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_24040159/new-el-paso-county-resident-jon-caldara-turns
While I cast a blank ballot as a new Colorado Springs resident, I could have just as easily voted “yes” for the recall. Thankfully, enough of my new neighbors did that for me.
Did you know that a utility bill is considered legal identification to vote in Colorado? Imagine this crime – operatives from out of state go through a few mailboxes in say Denver. They bring cable, phone, or water bills down to the election in the Springs. They then can register and vote that very day. Yes, they committed a crime, but their ballots have been cast and there is NO WAY to pull them out of the ballot box. If, and that’s a big IF, they somehow get caught, any enforcement comes after the election is over. Their votes counted. Legally.
Governor Hickenlooper, the man who jumped out of an airplane to help pass a tax increase, called my legal casting of a ballot a “stunt.” One House Representative threatened that if I went through with my plan I’d better “bring bail money.” A progressive group Photoshopped me getting drug away by police, warning that’s what would happen to others if the followed suit. Funny how the usual suspects that yell “voter intimidation” didn’t scream it on my behalf. Hmmm.
Well I voted all the same. I wasn’t arrested.
Even the Denver Post editorialized that my “stunt” had a purpose. http://www.denverpost.com/editorials/ci_24053715/jon-caldaras-political-stunt-had-purpose
It is my hope that our state legislature and governor will act quickly to remedy this law that makes election manipulation legal.