Justices2014withCaptionApparently, the way elections work now is different from how they used to work. Usually, the candidate with the most votes wins. Sort of. In a confusing saga of Adams County School Board 2013 elections, the candidate for the District 4 seat Amy Speers was declared ineligible because she did not actually live in District 4. Her opponent, Rico Figueroa, was the only eligible candidate.

The Colorado Supreme Court didn’t see it that way, however. Yesterday, it ruled that the seat should be declared vacant and the existing board must find and appoint someone to fill the seat, since Figueroa wasn’t “legally elected.” Meaning that someone who didn’t campaign at all may ultimately be selected by the board, instead of an eligible candidate who received public support and votes.

Figueroa’s attorney, Mario Nicolais, explained the problem with the Supreme Court decision:

“Now Coloradans are stuck in a very precarious position: if unqualified candidates are not challenged in court within very narrow, five-day windows, they can be ‘legally elected.’ Consequently, they can void thousands of votes and entire elections.”

So despite Figueroa’s qualifications and campaign, and despite the fact he received the most votes of any eligible candidate, the school board will now get to select anyone they so desire. Can you say “disenfranchised voters”? Speers even knew she was ineligible during part of her campaign, but refused to drop out. Former Secretary of State Scott Gessler unsuccessfully tried to keep her votes from being counted, since she would not be able to assume the role even with a majority vote.

Nicolais concluded:

“While I understand the difficulty the Supreme Court faced in making their decision, I think the potential long-term effects will undermine our democratic process.”

We agree. Stick with the public voting process, not an appointment from the four current members of the school board.