A little-known measure — we first editorialized against it in January — sailed through the legislative process in this statehouse session with little fanfare and less debate. It was designed, with the best intentions, to clear up a significant problem with Colorado’s ballots. The Colorado Constitution states: “All elections by the people shall be by ballot, and in case paper ballots are required to be used, no ballots shall be marked in any way whereby the ballot can be identified as the ballot of the person casting it.” The problem is that because of overlapping municipal districts — a fire district here, a local business improvement district there, a town board election and schools — it is conceivable that some ballots could be traced back to specific voters. Not likely, but certainly possible, and that flies in the face of the state constitution.
But the “fix” the Senate and House came up with is so problematic that we urge Gov. John Hickenlooper — who is in the midst of a bill signing spree right now — to veto the bill. Surely sending the idea of anonymous ballots back to the drawing board will come up with something better than what has hastily morphed into House Bill 1036.
Should it become a law, the nicest thing we can say about it is that it will harm public scrutiny of elections. The worst thing we can say about it is should Colorado, a swing state, have a hotly contested presidential race this fall, we could rival Florida for being infamous for a botched election.