Letters | A vote for privacy


Jeff Dodge’s excellent article exposing the traceability of ballots in Boulder (“Can your vote be traced?” Sept. 7) raises interesting political scenarios as well the obvious privacy concerns. Consistent with Dodge’s report, Clerk Hall has now reportedly communicated to Secretary Gessler that she will defy the intent of his “no-barcode” rule and will print identifying barcodes on Boulder’s ballots.

Boulder Republicans and Libertarians may be silently cheering their Democratic clerk’s bizarre decision. Always in the minority in left-leaning Boulder, the conservatives know they will be outvoted on tax measures and candidates for office. But this year, some may gladly “waste their vote” knowing Boulder’s election could be voided in the courts due to Clerk Hall’s unconstitutional barcoding practices. The Colorado Supreme Court long ago set the legal precedent by voiding an election because of traceable ballots.

Imagine the statewide impact of a lawsuit voiding the 125,000 estimated Obama votes in Boulder, while say, Republican-controlled Douglas County obeys the no-barcode order. Douglas County’s estimated 90,000 votes for Romney would stand while Boulder’s election could be voided.

The conservatives will happily have their ballots “voided” to see the tax increases and special district bond issues on the November ballot die, requiring a “do-over” election with predictably lower voter turnout.

The state, if not the nation, will be fascinated as Clerk Hall explains to the press and the Democratic Party why she chose the barcodes over voters’ rights to a secret ballot and as Secretary Gessler explains why he fought Citizen Center’s request for a federal court order to reverse Clerk Hall’s decision to print barcoded ballots.

Citizen Center has asked the federal court to issue an injunction to protect Colorado’s election by stopping Clerk Hall’s practices. Gessler and Hall say no court order is needed. The issue will be argued in court on Sept. 21.

Marilyn Marks/Aspen, CO

Stanford’s nose is growing

Thank you for pointing out the glaringly misleading media coverage on this topic (“Media coverage misleading on Stanford’s organic vs. conventional food study,” Sept. 7). I choose to buy organic over conventional for the reasons that you stated: to attempt to lower the amount of toxins my body is bombarded with; to support local economies; and I’d like to add two more reasons: because organic foods have stronger flavor/taste and to avoid GMOs.

Barbara Yeager/via Internet

Monsanto hits below the belt

I want to thank you for your in-depth article on Monsanto and its dangers beyond gmos (“Monsanto’s point of no return,” Aug. 30). Where there is no moral conscience for the use of power, big corporations can be extremely dangerous to the welfare and future of us citizens. And attacking our food supply and the strength of our genetic diversity is striking us below the belt. If Monsanto cares for nothing but their profits, we have to be the adults in the society who cultivate a long-term vision for the health and vitality of the human species, and we have to really work to manifest that vision. Whereas the outcome of this election may be important, it is far less critical than the outcome of our food supply.

Mikl Brawner/Boulder

Full credit for exposing the consolidation in the gmo (genetically modified organism) seed market by Monsanto. This is, of course, uncompetitive and anticapitalist. However, the author misses a couple crucial points. First, roundup-ready seed means less roundup pesticide is used. This is an environmental boon, since less weedkilling pesticide is, by any measure, an environmentally favorable outcome. Traditional seed varietals may not be “frankenseeds,” but they suffer higher crop losses due to weeds and bugs no matter the weedkiller used, which raises prices as commodity costs increase. This is in addition to imposing a higher environmental cost. Also, larger acreages are required for an equivalent yield using traditional varietals instead of gmo seed, meaning more arable land being farmed and less forest coverage, with all that implies in lessened mitigation of carbon sequestration. The second issue raised by the article is one of misinterpretation, or perhaps, ommission. Russia, China and the EU have not banned gmos due to public pressure or idealism. That gives far too much credit to their politicians and bureaucracies. Rather, public pressure has been used by the governments as a convenient way to maintain protectionist walls around their (inefficient and subsudized) agricultural sectors. There is an entire can of worms opened by this, from economic distortions to problems in the worldwide food chain. The debate about Monsanto is necessary and healthy, especially regarding their monopoly of the agricultural “killer app” that is roundup. But I’d say there are plenty of grey areas in the greater debate about gmo crops themselves.

Lawrence Pearlman/Black Hawk

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