One month after the 2013 election, we finally have resolution on a Fracking Moratorium in Broomfield County that had been in mandatory recount under law because the vote was so close. The recount found that the 5 year Fracking Moratorium in Broomfield did pass by the slim margin of 20 votes on December 3rd. The moratorium prevents oil and gas companies from conducting hydraulic fracturing within the county lines of Broomfield County for the next five years. But this matter could be far from resolved, as a pro-fracking group has slapped a lawsuit against the Broomfield election division. The suit alleges that Broomfield did not conduct the election correctly. The suit states that “the elections division failed to provide legal access for Broomfield Balanced Energy Coalition (BBEC) election watchers throughout the controversial ballot-counting process.”
Interestingly, the suit was filed just before the recount results came in showing that the five year fracking moratorium had passed. But now that the moratorium has passed, it is galling that the oil and gas lobby won’t concede that they lost, fair and square. The people have spoken, but the pro-fracking community will put their resources into hiring their best attack-dog lawyers to quibble over election technicalities. This whole matter will be watched closely, because the same power tug of war exists across this country between the people and special interests. The election should have settled this matter. If the fracking-ban had failed, you can be sure that pro-fracking groups would have praised the election for being conducted fairly. But the pro-fracking group is calling 18 of the 20 winning ballots into question. The lawsuit argues Broomfield election workers examined voters’ envelopes and ballots at certain times outside of the view of election watchers. The BBEC lawsuit states that BBEC watchers were “systematically denied access … to witness and verify ballots, envelopes and self-affirmations received before and after the election date,” and argues that several meetings regarding election processes took place behind closed doors, instead of being open to the public.
Ultimately, the goal of BBEC is to get an injunction against the fracking-ban while the lawsuit mires the ban in the depths of the legal system. This is insult to injury. Not only do the fracking companies want carte-blanche to be able to frack and hereby ruin the environment and poison homeowners land and drinking water; they also want to remove the power of the American people to speak their will through elections. To rob us of our rights as Colorado citizens to have the power to pass fracking moratoriums in our communities. Will they be successful? Lets hope not. All eyes are on this one. Huffington Post and other national media have been reporting on this. We cannot let corporations subvert the very nature of democracy. They cannot win this. We must win this.
The BBEC is making patently absurd demands in their little lawsuit, such as demanding access to “all information in election documents that is available to election judges,” such as vote logs, and access to what election workers talked about during the alleged closed-door sessions. I hope that these documents show that this election was conducted fair and square and the election results are indeed held up. But the real question is, how much damage can the oil and gas companies do in Broomfield while the injunction against the fracking ban is in place. Only time will tell. Keep checking back at Never Politics to hear more as the story develops.