What do you do when you live in a small town and the election numbers don't add up? Haul everyone in for questioning. I have to say despite the ridiculousness of this headline, there's something kind of quaint and endearing about this story. I love the idea of democracy so local that you can sit all the voters in an election down together to sort out any irregularities. The town in question is Montezuma, Colorado (a place I have actually been) and the details are so priceless that I just quoted a large chunk of the Denver Post article below.
The matter of a town suing its voters began with a highly controversial election for mayor and town board. It was held April Fools' Day.
In a town of 65 residents where a draw for a short straw used to decide who had to serve as mayor, an unprecedented dozen candidates ran for office. The hot-button issue that led to this kind of participation involved second-home owners.
New Montezuma Mayor Lesley Davis, who was elected by a three-vote margin, claimed that 13 of the voters and at least two of the candidates were not really residents of the town.
'This is our only option to have an objective judge take a look at the election controversy and give us his advice on how to move forward,' Davis said.
Locals say it is easy to tell who doesn't really live there by the piles of unplowed snow in driveways. Montezuma sits at 10,200 feet, 5 miles up a dirt road from the Keystone ski resort.
The lawsuit states that an investigation by the Summit County district attorney's office found that at least five voters were not qualified to vote because they weren't residents.
The lawsuit also cites a number of mistakes in the ballots, including the fact that there were no removable stubs to protect the anonymity of the voters. To try to rectify that, town Clerk Helen Moorman sewed stubs to the ballots but didn't realize the ballots still contained numbers that gave away voters' identities.
The upshot to all the mistakes is that no one in Montezuma knows if the current elected officials were elected properly. No challenge was filed within the 10-day window following the election. Thus, the lawsuit filed by Denver attorney Kendra Carberry. She did not return calls seeking comment.
"Now I'm paying someone to sue me," Montezuma voter Chris Baker said. "It's fairly disturbing that the town is using our tax money to sue us."
How can you not love this story?