Several people have called the Grand County clerk claiming that voter fraud was used to help defeat a proposed hazardous waste incinerator at Cisco.
Voters by a 2-to-1 majority Tuesday rescinded zoning that would have allowed commercial hazardous waste incinerator development in Grand County.County clerk Fran Townsend said Thursday that she has received several inquiries since the election about a purported scheme in which Colorado residents who opposed the incinerator were registered as voters in Moab, using the address of a local business.
"Some people have inquired about it. They've just expressed concern over the new registrants we've had," Townsend said.
She said the clerk's office does not intend to investigate the allegations at this point.
"If people have lied and perjured themselves, then certainly it should be looked into," she said.
Dean Norris, president of CoWest Incineration Corp. of Denver, said Thursday he had been told 150 people "outside the state" had registered and listed one business address.
"We just hear allegations is all," Norris said.
CoWest wanted to build an incinerator complex in northeast Grand County. Their proposal was blocked by the referendum vote, which rescinded a county commission decision allowing non-accessory commercial hazardous waste incin-eration in the heavy industrial zone.
Townsend said suspicion of voter fraud may have stemmed from the large number of people who registered late.
"Over the last few days, there were 130. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd of November, we had a big number. We had a lot of new people register to vote this year," Townsend said.
By Tuesday, the clerk's office counted 4,509 registrants.
Townsend said that would seem to be an unusually high number of residents in Grand County who are 18 and older. The county population is estimated at 6,900.
Townsend did not know which business was supposed to have been involved and said she had not taken the time to recheck registrations.
The clerk's office has been too busy double-checking addresses of at least 450 registrants whose Grand County voter information pamphlets were returned last week to the courthouse by the post office.
The pamphlets were returned because the addresses were not current or proper, or the registrants had moved or were deceased, said deputy county clerk Peggy Taylor.
Andrew Riley, spokeman for the Grand County chapter of the Colorado-Utah Alliance for a Safe Environment, said the local anti-incinerator group worked closely with alliance members in Colorado to defeat the incinerator. But voter fraud "wasn't anything that was ever brought up as a strategy."
"I don't think it has any basis," he said.
Riley said he was aware that a large group of Seventh-day Adventists who reside on church property at an institute in Castle Valley had registered late. But that would have involved 20 or 30 adults.
Riley said he had inquired at the clerk's office about the pamphlets being returned and was told that it was up to election judges to discern if a voter registered falsely and to take action.
"I didn't hear of anything from any election judges," Riley said. "I think what's happened is Dean is clinging to straws."