Note: Government spending to promote a specific political candidate is usually illegal, but we all know it happens. A recent example is the incident described below, which occurred in Lakewood, Colorado, a city of about 150,000 people located just west of Denver. This short article first appeared as a letter to the editor of the Denver Post. In the Post version the link to the city’s website is defective, but the one below works.
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The recent Lakewood mayoral election was subject to the equivalent of tampering and should be re-run.
The candidates were two members of the City Council: Adam Paul, who was supported by the current mayor, and Ramey Johnson. One of Johnson’s top issues was her opposition to a city plan to acquire contaminated Denver Federal Center land for redevelopment — a plan supported by Paul and the mayor.
About the same time ballots were mailed to the voters, the city administration, using public funds, sent the official city newsletter to all Lakewood households and businesses. The entire front page was devoted to praising and promoting the controversial land acquisition. No opposing arguments were reported. In other words, this was an unreported contribution of public funds to the Paul campaign.
You can see it for yourself on the city’s website, at least if city functionaries do not take it down when this letter appears.
The mailing may well have swung the vote tally, which Paul won by only a single percentage point. The citizens of Lakewood are entitled to elect their mayor in a fair election. Because this one was corrupted, state officials should authorize a new one.