Grand Lake voter list under investigation; allegation surfaces about candidate petition
Sky-Hi Daily News
The sheriff’s and district attorney’s offices found unfamiliar territory in the wake of the overturned Grand Lake election.
Both had been asked by the town of Grand Lake to examine a list of about 50 names of questionable voters in Grand Lake.
But some of the names on the list did not vote in the most recent election, creating confusion for the Grand County Sheriff’s Office about its role in examining the list.
The sheriff was unsure if the list was of alleged illegal voters from the last election or a list that needed to be checked for the next mayoral election set for Sept. 23.
The Sheriff’s role is limited to investigating names of voters who may have committed a crime by voting, not to clean up a registration list, according to Grand County Sheriff Rod Johnson.
The Sheriff’s Office has since deferred action until receiving guidance from the district attorney’s office, Johnson said.
Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Oldham met with Grand Lake Town Clerk Ronda Kolinske on Friday to iron out the confusion.
Kolinske had forwarded the list of names to the agencies, having said in past town meetings that she hoped to have a clean voter registration list for the next election.
“It was good meeting, They are going to get together an affidavit to investigate whether the people who were registered to vote should have,” Oldham said.
“Our election process, the reason it works, is because everyone abides by the rules; it’s the bedrock of our country, and that’s why we’re looking into it.”
Oldham said she asked Kolinske to submit “more of an up-to-date, solid list.”
The sheriff’s office also has turned over a separate complaint to the DA’s office related to mayoral candidate Glenn Harrington’s petition to run for office in the last election, which he won by two votes.
Former Mayor Judy Burke, who lost the election by two votes, questioned the validity of the petition.
Oldham said she is waiting for an affidavit to find out if Burke is willing to proceed with filing an official complaint.
Burke “contacted the law enforcement about irregularities with the petition,” Oldham said.
The assistant DA said the office has not yet “determined whether there was a crime committed or whether charges will be brought.”
Burke alleges Harrington broke the law by not circulating his petition in person to gather a few of the 15 signatures needed to run for public office prior to the recent election.
The petition states that with a candidate’s signature, the candidate attests he or she circulated the petition to acquire valid signatures from bona fide-registered voters.
“When you take an oath of office, you swear to uphold and defend the laws of the community, the U.S. Constitution and the state of Colorado,” said Burke, who had been mayor at the time petitions were circulating. “I was made aware that on at least three or more of the names, he did not circulate the petition to those people, but people circulated it for him.”
Harrington has since hired an attorney.
“Because this is an unresolved issue,” he said, “it would not be appropriate for me to comment on it at this time. It is my hope that all the questions are answered soon so that we can move past this and focus on the issues that are important to the town of Grand Lake and the people who live in it.”
” Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail email@example.com.
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