Opinion: Some Colorado politicians still do not get that whole open records thing

From the Boulder Weekly: A recent hearing related to the bungled Broomfield election made it clear that some public officials — even judges — still just don’t get it when it comes to coughing up open records.

Election reform activist Marilyn Marks, who has exposed many untoward practices — like using ballots that can be traced back to individual voters — got dragged into court by Broomfield officials after she had the gall to ask for public election records, including voted ballots.

Since it’s costly to hire an attorney for such proceedings, it’s a pretty effective form of intimidating citizens who are a bit too inquisitive, and it was enough to scare off Marks’ colleague Mary Eberle, who dropped her records request when notified that she’d have to go to court. Marks represented herself at the Jan. 6 hearing.

City and County of Broomfield Attorney Bill Tuthill and Clerk and Recorder Jim Candelarie offered some lame justifications for their claim that releasing the records would cause “substantial injury to the public interest.” They told District Court Judge Francis Wasserman they were concerned that opening the files might compromise two ongoing legal actions related to the election (including Wasserman’s own de-certification of the election results) and that a few ballots could be traced back to individual voters because of how ballots had to be sorted due to conflicting residency requirements.

Candelarie said he really wants to be transparent, deep down, but he was using an “abundance of caution” and didn’t want to “cause a problem” with the other cases.

Um, last time we checked, those weren’t legal justifications for withholding public records.

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