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Thread: Voting Fun!

  1. #1
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    Ah the first Tuesday in November, a great day to honor our cherished rights. I received a mail in ballot a couple of weeks ago but since my son is 16 and will vote in the next election I decided to take him along.

    I also decided to OC.

    My polling place is a church, St Paul Presbyterian at 18901 E. Hampden. It all started normally, nodding to people outside, smiling, a happy occasion for everyone. I entered the building and started filling out the required voting form, when the election judge asked if I had identification. From his tone, I knew what was coming. I handed him my driver's license and he asked if I was a police officer. I responded, "No". I could see he immediately went into panic mode. He asked me the traditional, "Why are you wearing a gun?". I responded, "It's my right under the 2nd Ammendment, it's not illegal". He immediately got on the cell He said, "You need to step outside, you can't bring a gun into a federal polling place, you can be arrested."

    I politely complied with his request. He repeated that I could be arrested, to which I repeated it's not illegal. He said I would have to lock the gun up in my car or take it home and come back. I said ok, but it's not illegal, and I wanted his name when I came back. I immediately went to the car and locked up the Beretta.

    In the parking lot a poll watcher came up to me and asked if I was allowed to vote. I said, "No, but they're going to let me back in if I lock up my sidearm. In order to exercise my voting rights I have to surrender my 2nd Ammendment rights." She wasn't very interested as long as they were letting me vote.

    Mr. Election Judge was off to the side talking on the phone, and another official asked me to wait. My son and I stood there for 15 minutes waiting while he was on the phone. I took the time to peruse the posted "Election Offenses" posters, asked my son (loudly) to see if he saw anything about firearms on the poster. Finally they let me vote, and Mr. Election Judge avoided eye contact with me. I filled out my ballot (provisional since I had a mail-in ballot).

    I then asked Mr. Election Judge for his name. He said no, then asked why I wanted it. I said I'm going to file a complaint, give me your name. He refused, and said I could just report the precinct.

    As my son and I exited, I saw at least 5 Aurora police officers. Two were standing off to the side, there was a motorcycle cop, and at least 2 more cruisers. The 2 standing off to the side called me over and I complied. They asked if I was armed, which I responded no, my firearm is locked in my vehicle. They played good cop bad cop, and the bad cop asked me why I was wearing a firearm. I responded that is my right. He said, "I didn't ask if it was your right, it's not too smart". I said it's not illegal. He repeated that it wasn't too smart and why don't I get a concealed permit. I said I have a permit, but there is nothing illegal about open carry. He asked if I always carry concealed (obviously not), or always openly, or open and concealed sometimes. I said I carry open and concealed depending on what I feel like.

    Good cop then asked me what car I was driving, and I pointed it out. He was cordial, seemed amused as I was, and said they need to watch me leave, because Mr. Election Judge is afraid I'll come back in and shoot somebody (I don't think I held in a chuckle). I said ok and since it sounded like a dismissal I wished them a good evening. I briefly talked to the poll watcher who made sure I actually did vote, and left the scene.

    So, my next step is a formal complaint to the Arapahoe County Elections Department. What a great day in exercising our rights!



  2. #2
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    I am searching but have not found any place where it is illegal to OC in a polling place. But your cool head made us all look good. Keep up the good work.

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    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    You should have refused to disarm; then he would have been preventing you from voting, and the only laws being violated would have been by him.

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    You should have refused to disarm; then he would have been preventing you from voting, and the only laws being violated would have been by him.
    That certainly was a consideration, however C.R.S 1-13-701 basically gives an election judge free reign over his domain:

    1-13-701. Interference with election official. Any person who, at any election provided by law, interferes in any manner with any election official in the discharge of his duty or who induces any election official to violate or refuse to comply with his duty or any law regulating the same is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished as provided in section 1-13-111.
    I will not break the law, and by refusing to disarm or leave the polling place at the request of the election official could be directly interpreted as violation of this open ended statute. He asked me to leave first, then asked me to disarm as a condition of voting. In other words, I couldn't vote unless unarmed, technically not denying suffrage but stripping me of other Constitutional rights.

    There is more to his behavior that I felt was intimidation and violation of a secret ballot laws, but that's secondary to firearms issues and I'm keeping that confidential as I file my grievances.



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    carguy wrote:
    I am searching but have not found any place where it is illegal to OC in a polling place.* But your cool head made us all look good. Keep up the good work.
    That's because it isn't. They simply smiled at me when I open carried in and then thanked me for voting.

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    marshaul wrote:
    You should have refused to disarm; then he would have been preventing you from voting, and the only laws being violated would have been by him.
    I would have left, and then called the police myself to tell them that they were refusing to let me vote. Legally, they're obligated then to force them to allow you to vote.

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    Dom wrote:
    You should have refused to disarm; then he would have been preventing you from voting, and the only laws being violated would have been by him.
    That certainly was a consideration, however C.R.S 1-13-701 basically gives an election judge free reign over his domain:

    1-13-701. Interference with election official. Any person who, at any election provided by law, interferes in any manner with any election official in the discharge of his duty or who induces any election official to violate or refuse to comply with his duty or any law regulating the same is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished as provided in section 1-13-111.
    I will not break the law, and by refusing to disarm or leave the polling place at the request of the election official could be directly interpreted as violation of this open ended statute. He asked me to leave first, then asked me to disarm as a condition of voting. In other words, I couldn't vote unless unarmed, technically not denying suffrage but stripping me of other Constitutional rights.

    There is more to his behavior that I felt was intimidation and violation of a secret ballot laws, but that's secondary to firearms issues and I'm keeping that confidential as I file my grievances.

    It would be a heck of a stretch to turn what you did, or tried to do, into interfering with anything whatsoever. Especially when you were exercising a right under the Colorado constitution, which trumps the statute.

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    I think your mistake was talking to the cops.

    "Am I under arrest? Am I being detained? No? See ya. Yes? I've got nothing to say without an attorney present."

    Telling them where your gun is or even that you have one is asking for trouble. They were looking for a reason to arrest you and if the wrong words come out of your mouth by mistake that's it. All they saw was you walking out fo teh polling place unarmed and peacefully. Let them stalk you to your car if they want to know which car is your, too. You didn't do anything harmful to anybody, and they sicced a bunch of cops on you. No point in helping them to hurt you.

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    Regular Member Anubis's Avatar
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    You received the Aurora Police Department's standard response to anyone openly carrying. They won't admit the fact, but their SOP is "to suppress nonLEO open carry wherever it rears its ugly head".

    Even after they had to have been informed you disarmed, they still chose to confront you.

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    Regular Member entartet17's Avatar
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    Anubis wrote:
    You received the Aurora Police Department's standard response to anyone openly carrying. They won't admit the fact, but their SOP is "to suppress nonLEO open carry wherever it rears its ugly head".
    That is definitely the truth. I've had similar encounters in Aurora. My friend is a LEO in Aurora and he even admitted that was their unwritten policy even though he disagreed with it.
    "There are those who still think they are holding the pass against a revolution that may be coming up the road. But they are gazing in the wrong direction. The revolution is behind them. It went by in the Night of Depression, singing songs of freedom" -- Garet Garrett, The Revolution Was (1938)

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    entartet17 wrote:
    That is definitely the truth. I've had similar encounters in Aurora. My friend is a LEO in Aurora and he even admitted that was their unwritten policy even though he disagreed with it.
    I suppose it's naive to ask what kind of contact list he has been put on. It is probably a "security issue" or some such thing for the department. Of course I have to say that more citizens need to OC so that there is not enough time in the day to har..# Um, contact all of them. I see no other way in our political climate.

    disclaimer. ecgoin has not OCed in denver suburbs. (Kinda paranoid).

    I also feel the need to point out that "unwritten policy" is a bit subversive. government should really subscribe to "written policy" as much as possible.

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    Unfortunately I'm used to the Aurora PD's behavior. I've even been stalked by an off duty cop in Safeway. This incident was special though, I was unarmed by the time they arrived and they obviously waited for me to vote since they didn't storm the church. How many opencarry.org members have been confronted when unarmed :??

    I filed my complaint with the county, we'll see if anything happens.

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    I'd take it to the paper, and/or make sure it gets around online. Bloggers love (poo) like this.

    Make yourself a nice, clear write-up.
    Why open carry? Because 1911 > 911.

  14. #14
    Regular Member Anubis's Avatar
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    One positive thing can be said about the Aurora Police Department tactics: they do know OC is legal. They may verbally hassle an OCer, but at least I haven't heard of anyone being charged with a bogus offense such as disorderly conduct or his CC permit being confiscated in retribution for OCing.

    There's a current thread in the Alabama section in which 2 posters describe losing their CC permits because they OCed. This is bad becausevehicle carry without CC permit is prohibited in AL, unlike here.

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    So I finally got a response to my complaint. Not exactly an apology:


    Arapahoe County, Office of the County Attorney

    December 9, 2008


    Dear Mr. XXXXX,

    Arapahoe County Clerk, Nancy Doty, forwarded your email dated November 5, 2008 and asked us to respond on her behalf. First, thank you for describing your experience with some of the Arapahoe County's election judges on November 4, 2008 at Precinct 353 at St. Paul Presbyterian Church. We have looked into this issue and it appears that some of the election judges working at the Precinct where you voted misunderstood the law with respect to the legal carrying of a firearm. The election judge (who you refer to in your e-mail as "Election Judge A") believed he was acting properly. Neither Election Judge A nor any of the election judges working at Precinct 353 took any action as a result of their personal beliefs, but acted on what they believed to be the law.

    Arapahoe County election judges receive traing for their positions totalling about 2.5 to 3 hours. The carrying of weapons by citizens into polling places has not bee part of that training as this is the first time we have heard of someone openly carring a firearm into a polling place. It is likely that many of the people who were at the polling place at the same time as you have never seen anyone other than law enforcement carrying a weapon. From what we have heard, it was a little shocking and eye-opening to some of the individuals who were present at Precinct 353.

    With respect to your concern that you filled out your provisional ballet [sic] at a table rather than a booth, Araphaoe County was conducting a voting machine election and therefore did not have voting booths at local polling locations. Arapahoe County does require our election judges to provide private tables/areas for provisional voters. We apologize if you felt that your vote was not sufficiently private.

    Again, thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention. Please feel free to contact or e-mail us if you have any additional concerns.

    Sincerly,
    Kathryn Shroeder
    Arapahoe County Attorney

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    Regular Member Anubis's Avatar
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    Dom wrote:
    So I finally got a response to my complaint. Not exactly an apology:


    ...Neither Election Judge A nor any of the election judges working at Precinct 353 took any action as a result of their personal beliefs, but acted on what they believed to be the law.
    So their beliefs about the law are somehow impersonal beliefs?

    I always translate "I believe" as "I don't know".

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    Dom wrote:
    So I finally got a response to my complaint. Not exactly an apology:

    The carrying of weapons by citizens into polling places has not bee part of that training as this is the first time we have heard of someone openly carring a firearm into a polling place. It is likely that many of the people who were at the polling place at the same time as you have never seen anyone other than law enforcement carrying a weapon. From what we have heard, it was a little shocking and eye-opening to some of the individuals who were present at Precinct 353.
    Hopefully, this can be taken as another learning experience for our elected officials and others working for the state and local government. It would be nice if they made an effort to educate folkson firearm laws as part of their training.

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