Sunday, September 07, 2008

Colorado Ethics Watch Restores Integrity To State's Voter System

The traditional media, whether it be locally or nationally focused, rarely does its job of policing our government and rooting out corruption. So it is a great thing that we do have organizations like Colorado Ethics Watch to fill in while they all suck at the corporate teat. While not the first state to have voter problems, Colorado has been having some difficulties with a certain state official named Holly Lowder and her friend John Paulsen. The former is the state's elections director and the latter sells voting systems to the state. Can you guess where this is going?

From The Rocky Mountain News:

Holly Lowder, 66, resigned from her post as elections director two months before what is expected to be one of the biggest elections in recent Colorado history. She held that job since 2006. Before that, Lowder served as Alamosa County clerk for about 25 years.

Colorado Ethics Watch had been pursuing documents from the state regarding Lowder's ties to John Paulsen.

Paulsen, 59, operates a software company called LEDS, LLC from his home in Castle Rock, records show. LEDS has installed voter databases in more than 30 counties and recently got two contracts worth almost $184,000 with the secretary of state's office for data work related to the current election season.

Records show that Lowder recently lived at a Cherokee Street home in Denver that is owned by Paulsen.

Chantell Taylor, director of Ethics Watch, called Lowder's resignation "no coincidence."

At least Rocky Mountain News credited them for the story, whereas many traditional outlets will generally just take stories outright, generally via the AP. The article itself gives Lowder a chance to respond, but you can tell that Lowder isn't fooling anyone, either at Colorado Ethics Watch or the Rocky Mtn News.

When asked why she resigned, she said "I retired. I did not resign."

Paulsen did not return numerous phone calls and e-mails seeking comment.

One of his earliest government contracts was with Alamosa County during Lowder's term as clerk. The county bought Paulsen's voter database and also uses his system for all its electronic property records.

So yeah, you can tell it sounds fishy and when the husband (who is separated from Holly) was interviewed he had no idea that Paulsen was supplying her new digs. So now we have one less corrupt official who deals with our nation's ballots. If only the media would work as well as Colorado's Ethics Watch, we might just get a fair and accountable system.

Yeah, wishful thinking, I know.