Friday, May 25, 2007

Lopez controversy uncovers a "smoking gun"

Political scandal have a fairly standard routine way of unfolding:
  1. An accusation is made.
  2. The accused denies it, stating the accusation is false.
  3. More evidence comes out.
  4. The accused denies it, pleading political attack.
  5. More evidence comes out.
  6. The accused denies it, claiming the facts are complicated.
  7. A "smoking gun" is discovered, destroying the accused's pretenses.
  8. The accused resigns in disgrace.
In case you're keeping track, the question of Paul Lopez's residence has recently been at Stage 6. We now seem to be entering Stage 7.

Dear Denver reports that irrefutable evidence has arrived from the Denver Election Commission. An open records request reveals that on September 16, 2006, Paul Lopez formally changed his address from 3400 South Lowell Boulevard to his grandmother's residence at 4411 West 2nd Avenue, effectively moving him from Council District 2 to Council District 3.

Most damning is Mr Lopez's own response to the question: "On which date did you, or will you, begin living at your new address?" His handwritten answer? September 1, 2006.Lopez was therefore not a resident of District 3 for the required 1-year prior to election, as supported by court documents, personal accounts, and most importantly, by his own signed form with the Denver Electoral Commission.

See the full Lopez document from the original source: Denver Denver's article entitled "The damning voter registration docs."

1 comment:

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

Suppose Lopez isn't a valid resident? What is the remedy?

The first round ballot is out and counted. The second round ballot is likewise in voters hands and includes Lopez as a choice.

There wasn't a timely protest made to stop this progression of events. In six days, votes will be counted, and there is no vacancy process in municipal election in the way that there is in partisan state election, so far as I know.

If Lopez does not win the runoff, the question is moot. If Lopez does win the runoff (and there is every indication that he will win the runoff), the question is, I suppose, can residency qualifications be challenged any time, or is the failure to make a timely and proper challenge suffiicent?

If residency qualifications can be challenged at any time, one would suppose that the proper course of action would be to have a hearing, and if Lopez's residency is found wanting at that hearing after suitable appeals, to declare the seat vacant, and hold a vacancy election in that district (no sooner than July or August).

Also, should such an election, if held, be conducted under the auspices of the Denver Election Commission, which thought it had breathed its last gasp, be deferred until the newly elected clerk and record takes office, or be handled by a combination of both, a scenario the starting date for the Clerk and Recorder was deliberately chosen to avoid?