Potential for massive fraud
Terje Langeland's story last week (Phantom voters) does a good job describing the bloated voter registration rolls in Teller County and elsewhere in the state. Some of us in Teller County have been complaining about this since 2002, obviously to no avail.
Contrary to Teller County Clerk and Recorder Pat Crowson's comment that these inflated registration lists are a " nonissue," the truth is they are an essential element of potential massive electronic voter fraud.
That is, unless a given county claims way more voters than it actually has, you can't very well get your favorite candidate(s) elected with votes from dead people, people who have moved away, or people who never existed at all.
Pat Crowson, by the way, is married to the chair of the Teller County Republican Party.
As was demonstrated on CNBC on Aug. 8, the process is frighteningly simple. Just use Microsoft Access to open the Diebold GEMS software on the central vote tabulator computer, switch and/or pump up the election results, wipe your tracks off the audit log, and presto, instant (but different) "official" election results. Of course, that requires one to be an insider with the proper passwords. Under Colorado law, the only way to catch such vote fraud is if Secretary of State Donetta Davidson or a judge orders an audit of the paper ballots; an unlikely scenario.
Am I suggesting our Teller County election officials have done such a thing? Certainly not. But, the potential exists, and it is clear that Congress must fix this problem and never again subject the American people to an election like 2004.
-- Richard J. Bowles, President
Teller County Independent Voter Coalition
Take a peek
Last week's cover story tells about just one of the many problems with our voting system. But voter-roll "bloat" from dead and moved registrants is just a drop in the bucket. Take a peek at the Amazon blurb for Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy. Author John Fund "takes the reader on a national tour of voter fraud scandals ranging from rural states like Texas and Mississippi to big cities such as Philadelphia and Milwaukee. He explores dark episodes such as the way 'vote brokers' stole a mayoral election in Miami in 1998 by tampering with 4,700 absentee ballots. He shows how, in the aftermath of the Motor Voter Law of 1993, Californians used mail-in forms to get absentee ballots for fictitious people and pets, while in St. Louis it was discovered that voter rolls included 13,000 more names than the U.S. Census listed as the total number of adults in the city. Fund shows how a lethal combination of bureaucratic bungling and ballot rigging have put our democracy at risk."
With a historically highest number of immigrants, it is beyond naive to think that a hefty percentage of noncitizens are not voting. Yet officials claim that there is not proof of that suspicion. "None so blind as those who will not see" seems to be a requirement for the registrar of voters.
-- Jan Herron
A visual symphony
Several months ago, I had the pleasure to be invited to view Mr. William Hutton's "Theatre of Mankind" [News, Oct. 21-27] He carefully, and with a great deal of pride, explained many of the pieces of art that he has carefully attached to his home. He took time and was most gracious. He is a highly intelligent gentleman and most personable.
He may be a bit eccentric, as Ms. Kinnaird refers to him in the story, but I prefer to think of him as unusual -- above the "cookie-cutter mold" of today's run-of-the-mill, rather phony human, always in a hurry to go nowhere fast. The "Me Generation" -- I'm the only one important.
Karon DiPentino, city code housing inspector -- back off! City firefighters and emergency people are intelligent and experienced enough to be able to find the front door, and there's always a back door and many windows to gain emergency entrance. Also, Ms. DiPentino, there are many other houses and apartments in this greedy city that really need your attention more. Not many homes or buildings are clearly marked -- and even not all streets.
A homeowner as Mr. Hutton should have the right to decorate as he or she sees fit. Obviously the neighbors don't really object.
Mr. Hutton being a senior citizen seems to be an easy mark for your "authority," Colorado Springs Housing Code Inspector. Back off! He loves his home as is.
-- Stella Ludwikowski
Leave him alone
There is a man in my neighborhood named Mr. Hutton who has a house covered in all sorts of art, sculptures and other things. I recently read your article about him. I was just outraged that some "anonymous" person would complain about his house. This complainer obviously must not have an open enough mind to see the wonderful stories and metaphorical meanings behind the artwork on his house. They must only see what is on the outside: lots of junk. It seems to me that if people can put giant inflated seasonal decorations on their property, then Mr. Hutton should be able to put artwork on his. At least his artwork is food for thought, unlike the glowing nylon pumpkins that constantly hum and suck up electricity.
Mr. Hutton adds life and vitality to our neighborhood. He is a unique individual, and I would hate for "anonymous" tippers to dampen his quirky spirit. The North End is not Briargate, and I love looking at his house and reminding myself why this is where I'd rather live.
-- Annika Davis
13 years old
Angry and appalled
I cannot thank you enough for writing "Deception 101" in last week's Public Eye.
I am a student who goes to Palmer High School, and many of us were very angry and appalled when we saw anti-abortion trucks driving around downtown on our lunch break, with the same pictures of aborted fetuses.
After not seeing them for about a month, we figured they had gone away, but on Tuesday, just like you said, there were big pictures again and protesters handing out brochures on our way to gym.
As students, we have the right not to be harassed and to be protected from people like these. And what makes me really mad is that Palmer is the only school being targeted. Because of these anti-abortionists, we are given bright green brochures every single day on our way to and from gym. I can't go from one of my classes to the other without seeing the revolting picture of an aborted fetus just across the street.
Thank you for informing the public about this, and giving me an outlet to express my extreme frustration and anger that some people think they need to go to these kind of measures to pressure teens today into listening (or rather, looking). Well, let me tell them something: We're only looking in disgust.
-- Sophie Verhaeghe
I wonder if abortion protester Mike Gamble would think it appropriate if we all gathered outside his church, on public property of course, with a nude painting of "his God" touching himself in lust? We can call it art expression. No? Problem is liberals have too much respect.
-- Selina Scarpati
Pictures of aborted fetuses are never appropriate under any situations, especially where youngsters will be exposed to them. Amazingly, the flaunting fundamentalists who blatantly shove this borderline pornography down our throats believe they will win converts to their cause. What the hell is next? Close-up vaginal shots of the procedure?
The more I read, hear and see of these right-wing, Bible-thumping fascists and their Taliban Christianity, the more repulsive they become. Fundamentalism is a chosen lifestyle, and every effort should be made to convert its practitioners to a more normal existence and cure them of their perversion.
-- Joseph F. Pennock
Letter writer Bill Durland is mistaken in his views of both pacifism and Christianity. By asking "Whom would Jesus bomb?" he's asking the wrong question. Jesus actually reinforced the principle of self-defense when he told his disciples to sell their cloaks in order to buy a sword (Luke 22:36). And as another man informed Mr. Durland with regard to the Roman centurion (Matt 8:5-13), Jesus never objected to military service.
I too am a veteran, and I respect Mr. Durland if he personally wants to be a pacifist, but a government, whose primary task is to protect its citizens, cannot take that position. And ultimately, those who say nothing is worth fighting or dying for are in effect saying that there is no person or no cause they will not betray to save their own skin.
Sticks and stones
Ken Orlando is a truly sad person if he has to write an attack letter for standing up for people's rights. Last week he called Cheri Gamble an "ignorant dolt" and me a "communist" who is so hypersensitive that when he calls me barbaric, I kick and whine.
I love how all hate-filled Republicans (which I hope are in a tiny majority) call progressives communists and traitors simply because we want to know answers like "Where are the WMD's that Bush and Cheney insisted were in Iraq?" instead of blindly following a man who lied to all Americans out of fear, and the Republicans who believe him out of fear.
As for the Colorado statutes he wanted, I believe they are 31-15-702 and 30-35-201 and section 1, which say any political or religious posters need to be approved of by the general assembly and include information such as who is sponsoring them. Also, they can't be put on city property without permission.
That said, Orlando was right on one point. It is "we progressives," not "us progressives."
And to letter-writer Jeff Chapdelaine, if the Democrats are so evil and filled with hate, why is it that it's your letter filled with insults? And if Bush isn't a divider, then why is it that every single person and poll out there says the country is way more polarized now than when Clinton was in office? Maybe because there is no more balance, since the Republicans control everything? Could be.
See how I got through the letter without insulting anyone? So here is one insult: The biggest terrorist threat is when the powers that be say, "Don't ask questions" and everyone follows. So to those few unthinking religious righters out there, if you don't want to be able to ask questions, move to Iran.
-- Geoff Kramer
A news story in last week's issue described a political rally at 32 Bleu featuring Jenna and Barbara Bush as "invitation-only." In fact, the event was open to the public. The Independent regrets the error.