July 29, 2013

Video: Watch Xcel Energy buy Boulder’s Vote!

Nothing here should bother you, unless you have qualms about lying to voters and forging signatures to get on the ballot.

For more: read the Daily Camera’s coverage.

Breaking news via New Era Colorado:
New Era’s Issue Committee, Voters Against Xcel Buying Elections, filed an official complaint with the City of Boulder questioning the validity of the signatures turned in by the group Voter Approval of Debt Limits.

“They spent $14,000 to get this on the ballot. If I were them, I’d ask for my money back,” says New Era Colorado executive director Steve Fenberg.

Voter Approval of Debt Limits, which New Era believes was formed by Xcel Energy, hired a company that paid 50 cents per signature in order to collect the minimum 4,500 signatures needed to place a measure on the ballot. According to New Era’s analysis, about 99% of all the signatures collected were by paid circulators who don’t live in Boulder.

Included in the complaint is video evidence New Era has received that shows circulators blatantly lying to voters in order to obtain their signatures. One circulator repeatedly told voters that the 2011 election was a tie and it needs to be voted on again. Another includes audio of a petitioner saying teachers would be fired and libraries closed if the city creates a municipal utility. In at least one instance, the petitioner wouldn’t provide the voter with the actual proposed ballot language. Videos also capture a circulator repeatedly altering, editing, or forging names on petition packets.

Although the group appeared to have turned in more than enough signatures, the city’s verification process shows that many of the signatures were of fake names and/or voters who don’t live in Boulder. Some of the packets had less than a 50% validity rate.

The circulators told voters they worked for Lamm Consulting, however the issue committee expense reports show they paid a company called Professional Petition Circulation, which is apparently run by veteran political consultant Rick Reiter. Mr. Reiter has run several campaigns on behalf of the oil & gas industry, including the effort to defeat Longmont’s fracking ban and the $11 million anti-severance tax initiative in 2008.

“From what we can tell, Xcel is playing a shell game with our democracy. This is what happens when a corporate front group tries to manufacture a grassroots effort. Once you dig a little deeper, it all starts to fall apart,” says Fenberg.


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