Voter suppression comes to Aspen |

Voter suppression comes to Aspen

As you may well be aware, a group of locals is working to change our local election date from May, when the fewest voters are present, to the first Tuesday in March, when more eligible voters are in town to vote.

Changing the local election day is a straightforward, obvious move. Sure, one can squabble over whether another date may have been slightly better than March; no date is perfect, but all are better than the status quo. So too can one take the position that apathy is the primary driver of low turnout. Sure, it plays a role, but no one can legitimately suggest that to have 30-ish percent more eligible voters in town will not in some measure increase turnout. Straightforward, until now.

Despite the compelling democratic reasons for increasing voter turnout in local elections, our local Councilman Bert Myrin on July 12 expressed support for voter suppression as a tactic in the paper and on social media. By his own admission, our effort to change the election date would likely increase turnout. Myrin said he’s “concerned that seasonal workers could sway a vote, citing an election in Snowmass.”

Think about that: Bert Myrin is saying there are people who …

1. Live in Aspen

2. Work in Aspen

3. Meet every legal requirement of an Aspen voter including residency

4. Can vote nowhere else.

… should purposefully be kept from voting in the election by keeping the election in May when locals are not present.

As far as we know, Bert Myrin just came out publicly as the first self-described “Democrat”/“liberal” openly for voter suppression in the age of Trump and the worldwide challenge of democracy. This is nothing short of disgusting.

Perhaps we should bring back the poll tax and eliminate women’s suffrage too for fear the women might disagree with us, Myrin? Democratic voter suppression can not be allowed to begin in Aspen.

Our goal, especially now, should be nothing short of 100 percent turnout (no, this alone will not get us there, but it is one important step). A trustworthy, inclusive election and a community that comes together is where we must go and who we must be as a community.

Aspen should lead ourselves, our nation, and the world toward a regeneration of democracy in any small way we can. Let’s do it together.

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Aspen Citizens for Democracy