Saturday, May 05, 2007

Colorado suppresses criticism

May 5, 2007

Mr. Hobbs
Colorado Deputy Secrecary of State

RE: Ruling to prohibit testimony

At the May 1st rules hearing, you ruled to limit my oral testimony to the text that was proposed for modification. I infer that staff will so limit their reading of my written testimony.

I was not permitted to address the entirety of each rule that was proposed for change. I disagreed with your ruling because: (a) it defies common sense, (b) it censors the public, and (c) it is not authorized by statute or rule.

Myopic. Colorado’s election rules are not crafted in a way that the content of each subsection is a stand alone rule. A change to any part of a rule can ripple over the entire rule. When a rule is opened for change, the collective experience gained using the pre-amended rule is available for improving the quality of the rule.

Not transparent. The draft of the proposed rule change is created by a process that prevents public influence on the proposed change. The drafting process is not transparent, and there is no accountability for the completeness and quality of the draft. Lacking a fair forum for debate on the content of the proposed rule change, the only opportunity for the public to improve a rule is at the rules hearing.

Unauthorized ruling. We have scanned the online documents and cannot find any place that supports your ruling to limit discussion of each rule to the text proposed for modification.

While searching the state’s online documents, we did not find a “Rules Drafting Manual” corresponding to the “Legislative Drafting Manual”. Is there such a document?

When you consider your response to this letter, I hope that you will also review my testimony regarding transparency. Staff has consistently refused to discuss election rules with the public; yet staff regularly discusses proposed rules with county clerks and secret committees. Is it official policy that the public be prohibited from participating in the drafting process?

I hope that you will reconsider your ruling to restrict comment during a rulemaking hearing to the text of the proposed changes. If there are writings that support your ruling I would like to learn of them so that we can work on getting them changed.

As we tried to communicate in our written submission, the proposed rules are deficient and must be repaired in order to protect the purity of elections.

Al Kolwicz


Al Kolwicz
CAMBER – Citizens for Accurate Mail Ballot Election Results

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