Suit seeking to invalidate West Metro election fails

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By Ramsey Scott

A lawsuit seeking to throw out the results of May’s board election in the West Metro Fire District has failed. 

The suit, filed June 2 by District 3 candidate Clyde Wadsworth and District 2 candidate Devin Howard, both of whom lost their respective races, and the Colorado Union of Taxpayers, claimed the ballot-counting process violated citizens' right to a secret ballot. 

The plaintiffs said voter information was left attached to ballots. Election watchers for the two candidates in the lawsuit said sticky notes bearing names of voters were left on the outside of numerous ballots. 

Yet in his ruling against the lawsuit on July 24, District Judge Stephen Munsinger said there was no evidence that any election judge or official attempted to find out how certain voters cast their ballots. 

“To show a constitutional violation of this provision, plaintiffs must show that election judges, in fact, affirmatively discovered electors’ votes,” Munsinger wrote. “Plaintiffs have failed to show that any election judge, designated election official, or any assistant to an election judge or official, affirmatively discovered the vote of any elector.”

In its briefings for the lawsuit, West Metro said the massive voter turnout complicated ballot counting. More than 34,000 ballots were cast, compared to 5,249 in the 2006 election, which also had a TABOR question.  

West Metro also cited complications with duplicate ballots being mailed to voters and underage residents receiving ballots. 

“It’s outrageous. I guess the judge doesn’t feel the constitution is the law. (Munsinger) is going to decide the law on his own,” said Gregory Golyansky, president of the Colorado Union of Taxpayers. 

Golyansky said his group was looking at appealing the decision, along with other legal options.  


Contact Ramsey Scott at ramsey@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22, and follow him on Twitter @RamseyColumbine. Check www.columbinecourier.com for updates.