Tell the MCA that the integrity of this vote is important to you!
OPEN LETTER TO ALL STAPLETON COMMUNITY MEMBERS:
The current “referendum” on the renaming of Stapleton has recently become complicated by an error on the return envelopes and mis-statements from the MCA’s director about whether or not signatures are required on the ballot or the ballot return envelope. We at Rename St*pleton for All, in our role as your fair election watchdogs in this process, are compelled to weigh in with our grave concerns about how this confusion affects the legality of the vote.
Many property owners have noted that contrary to the instructions in the ballot package, the return envelopes do not contain a section where the MCA member is meant to provide their name, address, and signature. In response, the MCA director has made recent announcements that tell members to ignore the direction in the ballot material to put name, address, and signature on the back of the stamped return envelope. We believe that this instruction is wrong and contrary to the MCA Board’s authorization of the secret ballot, two Colorado statutes, the MCA bylaws, our agreement with the MCA—and common sense. We are providing the sources of our analysis so that you can come to your own independent conclusions.
MCA ballots in previous elections have never been secret; making them so for this referendum required special approval by the MCA Board. That approval was conditioned on the use of a signature: “Each ballot will be verified by the return envelope which will include this information [referring to name, address and signature of the voter].” This language is quoted from an emailed MCA Board motion dated June 5, 2019, a copy of which was provided to us by the MCA.
To protect against election fraud, ballots or their return envelopes must be signed so that they can be verified as cast by a valid owner before they are counted. Having a matching number assigned to a ballot and envelope does not assure a valid ballot. It merely assures that the ballot is official (e.g., not photocopied) and that it was assigned by the MCA to the member’s address. It does not assure that the person who filled out the ballot is a person who is entitled to cast it (i.e., property owners). We are all familiar with this process from voting via mail-in ballots in political elections: The signed return envelope is separated from the unsigned ballot when it is received by the election certifier. This ensures the secrecy of the votes cast, but the signature on the envelope allows the certifier to confirm that a ballot from a given address was cast by the person entitled to that vote.
Two Colorado statutes governing master communities and nonprofit corporations require signed ballots:
– “The association is entitled to reject a vote, consent, written ballot, waiver, proxy appointment, or proxy appointment revocation if the secretary or other officer or agent authorized to tabulate votes, acting in good faith, has reasonable basis for doubt about the validity of the signature on it or about the signatory’s authority to sign for the unit owner“ (C.R.S. 38-33.3-310: https://bit.ly/2KzX0dD).
– The Colorado Nonprofit Corporation statute also clearly requires the name and signature of a member be on the ballot for purposes of verification. C.R.S. 7-127-204. The MCA is governed by both the Nonprofit Corporation Act and the Common Interest Ownership Act, which are consistent with each other on the issue of voting (7-127-204. Nonprofit corporation’s acceptance of votes: https://bit.ly/2Y9tize).
The MCA bylaws allow for an action by written ballot, but it must be in compliance with the Nonprofit Corporation Act. MCA Bylaws Section 3.14 Action by Written Ballot. “… Any action that may be taken at any annual, regular, or special meeting of the Members of a Delegate District may be taken without a meeting by written ballot delivered to every Member entitled to vote on the matter. The procedure for actions by written ballot shall be governed by the Colorado Revised Nonprofit Corporation Act” (http://www.stapletoncommunity.com/mca-info/governing-documents).
– Accordingly, the Colorado Revised Nonprofit Corporation Act states: “If the name signed on a vote, consent, written ballot, waiver, proxy appointment, or proxy appointment revocation corresponds to the name of a member, the nonprofit corporation, if acting in good faith, is entitled to accept the vote, consent, written ballot, waiver, proxy appointment, or proxy appointment revocation and to give it effect as the act of the member” (C.R.S. 7-127-204: https://bit.ly/2Xz9jwL).
Contrary to what some have claimed, Rename St*pleton for All seeks to avoid litigation if possible. Our legal team has been working in cooperation with the MCA attorney to try to assure the fairness of this vote. In doing so, the language in the ballot instructions requiring a name, address, and signature on the ballot envelope was agreed to and drafted by the lawyers to assure that there would be name, address, and signatures for the independent CPA firm to verify that the ballot was cast by a member before counting.
Finally, while it is true that our group has strong opinions about why our community should be renamed, we are also committed to a fair and transparent election process. If the community decides to rename, we will be pleased. If the community decides not to, we want to know that it was done through a fair and valid voting, verification, and counting process. However you decide to vote, we hope you share our concerns about these recent developments, and will let your MCA delegates and officials know how you feel; you may scroll to the bottom of http://www.stapletoncommunity.com to leave your comments or write directly to your MCA district delegate here: http://www.stapletoncommunity.com/mca-info/community-delegates.
Rename St*pleton for All Board Members
Learn more about our organization and find our resources related to this referendum and about Benjamin Stapleton and Denver’s KKK history at renameforall.com.