El Paso County Board fine with long lines

el-paso-countyEL PASO COUNTY, COLO.- I visited the Board of County Commissioners today to seek their intervention with problems developing with the upcoming election. They’d already voiced their support for Clerk and Recorder Bob Balink’s voter intimidation of Colorado College students. In light of national criticism of vote suppression tactics such as the fewer early-voter stations, longer wait times, and the possibility of running out of paper ballots, I wanted to give the commissioners a chance to reassure voters of El Paso County. Long lines? They’re all for them. In their own words:

While disadvantaged citizens are particularly burdened by the prospect of long lines at the polling stations, this was not a concern shared by the commissioners. They saw long lines as a sign of greater voter participation. In particular, for that reason, Commissioner Sallie Clark said “I hope there are long lines.”

Two other commissioners also up for reelection on Tuesday held the same view. Commissioner Amy Lathen said “Long lines mean people are getting out and voting … I don’t think that’s a problem.” Commissioner Dennis Hisey added “Waiting to vote is an American tradition.”

County Treasurer Sandra Damron felt compelled to stand up and add that she thought “casting aspersions” was unwarranted. Damron reminded me of a typical small town administrator bucking at the oversight of Federal supervisors whose job it is to know better.

“I’m really angry that outside organizations, feel that they can come into our community, and try to cast aspersions, when there are none that are deserved. … Last time I looked, there is no constitutional right to avoiding long lines. They just happen.

Commissioner Jim Bensberg put the blame for long lines on voters who come to the polls “without having done their homework” in view of the lengthy ballot initiatives. Commissioner Wayne Williams thought that those who criticized our local election were “ignorant” and of “questionable judgment.”

Commissioner Hisey answered the criticism of no early polling location for the South East part of town, where there are more African American, Hispanic, and military families. He explained that the Citadel Mall early-vote facility was targeted for them. “We put a polling place in the heart of where the minorities live, shop and work.”

News reports reflect the turnout at the Citadel Mall has been primarily white.

Every commissioner wanted to admonish any complainants with the reminder that they had their opportunity to mail in their ballots. No one addressed the reports of many who’ve yet to receive such ballots, nor those who await confirmation that they are registered.

The County Attorney answered a concern about Absentee ballots sent in without photocopies of personal IDs. Even he was unsure if sufficient warning was given that such photocopies were required, but he consulted with a colleague before admitting that all such ballots would be considered provisional, and then duly discarded as insufficient.

By the way, every board member took the occasion to make an opening statement at today’s meeting. Each was a Republican partisan reminder to vote for the candidates who promise smaller government, etc, etc. Commissioner Bensberg ended with this anecdote.

“One of my constituents called me yesterday with a suggestion. He was concerned that there might be a long line at the polling place, and he came up with an idea that I think is worth pursuing. I’d like to pass this along to our Clerk and Recorder, and that is, that all Republicans should vote on Tuesday, and all Democrats should vote on Wednesday.

To which Commission Hisey said “I’ll leave that one alone.” I’d say Commissioner Bensberg was trying to be humorous, but if you wonder why that disinformation tactic reemerges every election, and has been reported recently in numerous precincts around the country. We can certainly question whether elected officials should be joking about it, without a preface, or explanation. In light too of the many serious violations that the El Paso County Board of Commissioners appears to be adamant to overlook.

You can observe the complete statements on Comcast Channel 17 tonight at 7PM or later at 10PM. Otherwise the audio file becomes available at this link on the El Paso County website.

Jim Bensberg also suggested that complaints about voting irregularities always came from the “other side,” suggesting questionable motives on their part. I paraphrase: Perhaps accusations of partisanship could be dropped only when complaints come from both sides.

Well, I do not wish for either. But maybe Bensberg should let us know the minute a phony “November 5” notice emerges which instructs REPUBLICANS to vote the day after. An example I doubt we’ll ever see. Number one, because believers in democracy don’t want to disenfranchise anyone, but two, Republicans don’t dare make a fake flier to discredit the Dems, because it would mean risking their own voters falling for the ruse. An entirely likely outcome.

A fake notice distributed in Virginia:
virginia-elections-fake-flier.jpg

3 thoughts on “El Paso County Board fine with long lines

  1. Avatarpatrick

    i can’t help thinking it’s awesome that there has been such long lines all over… people taking a greater interest in public issues is always a good thing

  2. AvatarTony Logan

    Yes? Then imagine what it would be like if the US had universal and automatic voting registration instead of the fraud full structure currently in place?

    About 25 countries in the world make ALL their citizens registered voters automatically, and those countries include each and every one of the Scandinavian countries, so where is the problem with doing the exact same thing here in the US? I would say that the problem lies precisely with the 2 corporate parties, the DP and RP both, since both block any real reform.

  3. Avatarabsorneawarse

    Nothing seems to be easier than seeing someone whom you can help but not helping.
    I suggest we start giving it a try. Give love to the ones that need it.
    God will appreciate it.

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