Democrats “Go There,” Call For Gessler’s Removal From Office

With this press release late yesterday, you may consider any remaining pretense dropped:

Following lengthy testimony by Secretary of State Scott Gessler, Republicans on the House Local Government Committee killed SB 109, which would have ended confusion surrounding registered voters who are tagged as “Inactive Failed to Vote” and had bipartisan support from legislators and county clerks alike. After the vote, Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio issued the following statement:

“Colorado’s Republican Leader Scott Gessler has once again prioritized his partisan agenda above the rights of Coloradans to vote. If Scott Gessler is unwilling to fulfill his duties as a non-partisan election officer, the people of Colorado should consider all avenues necessary to remove him as Secretary of State.” [Pols emphasis]

The call yesterday for the ouster–by any lawful means necessary, including recall–of Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler comes after his testimony against Senate Bill 12-109 in the House Local Government Committee. SB-109, which was killed on a party-line vote at Gessler’s urging, would have resolved the “inactive-failed to vote” status of thousands of Colorado voters, and clarified procedures for voter registration status. The bill was drafted in direct response to the controversy last fall over Gessler’s insistence that ballots not be mailed to these otherwise registered and eligble voters. A number of county clerks, led by Pueblo and Denver counties, openly rebelled against Gessler and prevailed in court.

What Gessler proved yesterday, what seems to have been the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back for Colorado Democratic Party chairman Rick Palacio, is that Gessler doesn’t want this problem actually solved. By testifying against Senate Bill 109, which passed the Senate with bipartisan support, Gessler revealed that imposing conditions on the distribution of ballots to legally registered voters, the outcome he sought by trying to stop “inactive failed to vote” ballots from being mailed last fall, really is his goal. Gessler proved this wasn’t simply about “uniformity,” since the bill he testified against would have created uniformity.

Uniformity on the side of equal access to ballots. That’s what Gessler opposes.

And this is the latest in a series of actions Gessler has taken that reveal an agenda as Secretary of State fundamentally at odds with the interests of the citizens who elected him. Gessler continues to attempt with rule implementation to effect sweeping changes to Colorado election law, reflective of untested court decisions where he wants, in outright defiance of court decisions he doesn’t like–in all cases exercising a capricious lack of judgment, and naked partisan ambition totally inappropriate for his role as Colorado’s chief elections officer. His lack of an ethical compass in his official position was on display right after his election when he tried to “moonlight” for his former law firm. It continued to glare brightly while he slashed fines for a county Republican Party accused of gross fiscal negligence, then held a fundraiser for them.

We’ve been saying it from the beginning: this scheming partisan elections lawyer was a terrible choice for Secretary of State, one of the very worst electoral choices ever made by the people of Colorado. What’s needed now, before anybody starts talking about the daunting logistics of recalling him, or other strategies that can be employed to blunt his agenda against the voting rights of the people of Colorado, is the simple recognition that Democrats calling for Gessler’s ouster by any lawful means is not just an outburst of election-year hot air.

It’s time to recognize how serious a threat to “small-d” democracy Gessler really is.

70 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. rocco says:

    For a long time the republicans ran the con, denying that they’re in the business of suppressing the vote, while doing every possible thing to do exactly that.

    It’s been a standing fact since the turn of the 20th century that the fewer people that vote, the more it helps the republicans, the better the registered turnout, the more favorable the results for the majority of Americans.

    Now they’re parading it front and center, like “Yeah, we’re doin’ it, what are you gonna do about it?”, and it’s simply time to stop screwing around, arguing whether or not it’s happening, and just flat get busy and put a stop to it.

    This story is very accurate, Gessler literally has no moral compass. It’s so head turning that it’s completely understandable that a rational person asks “How can this be?”.

    Like the Second World War, the answer isn’t in trying to understand what motivates these reptiles, why they do the things they do.

    The only thing honest people need to know about them is how to beat them.


    At this point, since not even shaming these creeps works, I’m in.

    • ellbee says:

      Rocco, really?  WWII?

      Who exactly in WWII are you comparing Republicans to, just so I can get an idea of the magnitude of your comparison?

        • ellbee says:

          Ok.  The Nazis.

          Godwins!  Godwins!

          You’re right.  Scott Gessler is just like a Nazi.

          Rocco, you’re a smart guy and make great arguments most of the time.  Why would you want to lose an argument before you start it by invoking Nazis or Imperial Japan in comparison to a duly-elected State SOS?

          • AristotleAristotle says:

            “Like the Second World War, the answer isn’t in trying to understand what motivates these reptiles, why they do the things they do.”

            You seem to be reacting to this a bit too literally. This is in no way a Godwin’s situation, either.

            And I think picking on this may be an admission that there isn’t a way dispute the main point of his argument.

      • Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

        aren’t you ashamed of such a blatantly leading question? rocco is talking about the futility of trying to understand irrational actions in a rational context. The matrix doesn’t work because rationality isn’t the point.

        The point is to institute a functioning, dominate plutarchy so the 1% can institute their “free market” paradise.

        “The Shock Doctrine”, by Naomi Klein…read it.

        • ellbee says:

          Comparing anything in American mainstream politics to Nazis immediately negates one’s argument in my eyes.

          Nothing is like the Nazis.

          • Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

            There were many parties who made irrational decisions besides the Nazis. He let you pick and you chose Himmler and the boys.

            • ellbee says:

              Rocco?  Exactly to whom were you referring to in your comparison?

              You made it – please elaborate.

              • Fidel's dirt nap says:

                or Benito Mussolini ?

                Do you then accept roccos argument ?

                • rocco says:

                  But I’m fine with his pick.

                  The repubs do have much in common with the Imperial Japanese doctrine, that of taking what you need, by any means. The old shooter cheney way.

                  The Fascists in Itlay married corporations to government, another red mantra.

                  But the Nazis………….He picked ’em, he owns ’em.  

                  • ellbee says:

                    You mentioned WWII.  You made a comparison, it’s your argument and I own none of it.

                    Can you please tell me who specifically you were referring to, and what your comparison is to whomever you were referring to that took part in WWII?

                    I think it’s a pretty fair question.  You’re the one that said it.

                    • Fidel's dirt nap says:

                      is the whole conceptual basis of Gessler’s actions is that the law is under me.  It is used as a tool, along with his position, to subvert democracy and serve his own narrow aims.  Election law, and his position, should be treated with a lot more dignity.  Why ? Because when the law is mistreated, (or perverted) that way, we keep sliding ever towards meaningless banana republic standards.

                      In short, he shits on the law, and then rubs it in our faces.  He cheapens the position, and that weakens democracy.

                    • ClubTwitty says:

                      in your one sub-point up there?  WW2 after the US was involved?  Or starting in 1939?  Some people would date it further back with Japanese aggression in Asia.  Please be more precise so I can better understand the magnitude of your offense!

                    • rocco says:

                      I was referring to the mindset my parents took on after Pearl Harbor.

                      My mom and dad both were retired U.S. Military, committed Roosevelt Democrats, as am I, and while I wasn’t born ’till ’48, they were still talking about the commitment made by the entire Nation to win the War my entire childhood.

                      Time after time, they talked about how Pearl Harbor galvanized the nation, the rationing, shortages, how really important work descriptions got more gas than others, no silk, butter, saving cans, donating clothes, buying bonds, and sacrifices.

                      Our family was lucky, we didn’t lose anybody. But my dad did play an important role, and was proud of it the rest of his life. And I’m very proud of him as well.

                      But the similarity to today was that once Japan attacked and the other Tripartite partners declared war, the republican isolationists stopped henpecking, the public stopped wondering how these dictators and Tojo could be so evil, why they were, and everybody just came together to work to beat them.

                      The motives, agenda, or ideologies of Germany, Italy, and Japan simply didn’t matter any more.

                      The only thing that did after America entered the war was two sledgehammer words:

                      Unconditional Surrender.

                      By all three.

                      That’s how I compared the republican party to the Axis Powers. I wasn’t really thinking of how the republicans are like any of the Axis partners in great detail, but our professional victim took tactical offense, and the thread got hijacked.

                      Ralphie, sorry about the thread jack. It wasn’t my intent.    

                    • ellbee says:

                      At least you finally elaborated.

                      So the Republicans have committed an offense as great as the Axis powers in WWII and must be fought until the party is completely destroyed?

                      How do you see that taking place in real terms in today’s America?

                    • AristotleAristotle says:

                      Go back to the original comment.

                      First, to end the threadjack.

                      Second, to get the context again, which you’ve completely lost sight of in your absolute desire to be offended.

                      Like the Second World War, the answer isn’t in trying to understand what motivates these reptiles, why they do the things they do.

                      The only thing honest people need to know about them is how to beat them.


                      At this point, since not even shaming these creeps works, I’m in.

                    • AristotleAristotle says:

                      We’re on that original thread. So never mind that part…. THIS thread has been completely hijacked. For some reason I thought we were somewhere else.

                      Where’s my coffee?

                    • ellbee says:

                      You get Sanka now for not calling Godwin’s wherever it rears it’s head.

                      Actually, I think I owe you a beer or a coffee.  It’s been a while.  Hope all is well with you.

                      We’ll just have to get together before I’m ‘destroyed’ by Rocco and his minions.

                    • AristotleAristotle says:

                      And too late about the coffee. It’s all gulped down with a donut. Breakfast of champions…

                    • ClubTwitty says:

                      I was kind of poking ellbee for trying so very hard to be offended…reminds me of a loyal German…

              • VanDammerVanDammer says:

                let’s get back to Gessler’s unbridled partisanship and his true agenda. Let’s figure out who is Gessler’s true constituency because is surely doesn’t seem like he is serving for the better of Colorado citizens.  

                Has he heard back from DHS yet?  He jobbed out his “investigation” just to make it seem more dire and raise the spector of a grand voter conspiracy for the theatrical drama.  Yet he can’t share the facts and the evidence with the very clerks charged with assuring the integrity of the vote.  Rather than actually do his job he’d rather play Agent 86 finding the agents of KAOS that fit his delusional threats.  Gessler is a joke and unfortunately a bad joke that’s getting played on the fine folks of CO.    

          • Sir RobinSir Robin says:

            You’re right to not want to compare post 1938 nazi’s, because little in modern history can compare to the nazi atrocities once the war started.

            What is relevant is how the nazi’s came to power, cunningly and often ruthlessly suppressing a free people’s speech, freedoms, choices and expression. THAT is relevant.

            Read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer, and you’ll agree then that small, seemingly innocuous steps, allowed Hitler to start WWII.

            • ellbee says:

              The most cogent response to my query so far.  

              I read Shirer’s book for the first time as a sophomore in High School, and I think it’s still the quintessential book on how the Nazis were able to do what they did.

              I’ll disagree on your analysis, but respectfully so.  At least you were specific enough to point out what you thought some similarities were.

              Thank you.

              • Ralphie says:

                Rocco, Elbee, and others.

                • AristotleAristotle says:

                  His WW2 remark was outside the main point and uncontroversial to anyone who wasn’t actively looking for it.

                  • ellbee says:

                    It was a giant waste of my time.  You guys just keep on with hyperbolic nonsense like comparing an SOS you don’t like to some as-yet-unnamed power that we fought against in WWII without specificity.

                    Enjoy the thread.  And thank you, again, Sir Robin, for attempting to explain what you thought of it.

                    • Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

                      SOS you don’t like

                      It isn’t a simple matter of not liking him…it is his relentless efforts to suppress voting by those who do not support him. To do so for purely political reasons is tantamount to treason in my book…but, I don’t get to write the book.  

                    • AristotleAristotle says:

                      but it wasn’t the point. The point was reducing voter participation benefits Republicans. The WW2 comment was merely an acknowledgment that it really is war between the parties now.

                      I suppose rocco could have come up with another conflict where one side never negotiated in good faith, but it’s hard to think of one.

              • rocco says:

                If you had, you’d know the similarities.

                If I’m wrong, and you did, then right now you’re, as usual, being intellectually dishonest.  

                • ellbee says:

                  Is that an admission from you that you are comparing Republicans to the Nazis?  

                  In the interest of intellectual honesty, don’t you think you should explain yourself on this matter?

                  Perhaps you’re making a really fantastic point that will demonstrate how the Republicans are just like the people that methodically killed ten million civilians in WWII.

                  I’d really hate to miss that, Rocco.

  2. Dan WillisDan Willis says:

    If the Dems are going to seriously spearhead a recall effort, they need to get their ducks in a row, NOW.

    The ideal timing for a recall election would be the general election this November. Otherwise we would be talking about a very expensive statewide special election.

    To pull that off, the petitions need to be circulated, turned in, verified, and the protest period exhausted by mid-September at the lastest, but mid-August would be far better (and about as far out as the law allows).

    Backing up through the process, petitions would have to be turned in by end of June/very early July, which means circulation would start in late April/early May. That also means one month to get petitions approved, printed and circulators hired (a small army would be needed because of the high number of signatures needed in only 60 days)

    Not only would the party need to get their act together very quickly to make that happen, but also anyone wanting to run to replace Gessler would need to get into high gear at the same time. They need to get at least 1500 signatures from each CD, plus all of the fundraising, name-ID raising, etc. needed for a statewide campaign.

    • rocco says:

      Most of us are already buring a lot of daylight, between working,  volunteering for at least one candidate, on and on, but I guess you never say never.

      But you really describe a difficult task, well worth doing but a lot of particulars.

        • VanDammerVanDammer says:

          Gessler has done enough to get the masses off their asses.  He’s canny enough to know he can affect change – partisan change – and get it done under the radar without all that many repercussions and scheme his way to a bigger throne.  

          Heck he wanted to disenfranchise active service members and that wasn’t enough to get more than a grumble out of Colo Springs and our various forts. I’m afraid that working toward a recall would be sadly misspent effort especially within the timeline of DW’s scenario.  

          I’m just hoping that their are some journos or pols with some investigative chops that are watching Gessler like dingoes on a baby. This shiny knight of voter integrity sure likes to draw attention to fables rather than facts so just what are we missing?  

      • AristotleAristotle says:

        then why not get paid signature gatherers to do that?

        • Dan WillisDan Willis says:

          Paid circulators would have to be used for this, but even then it would be difficult. Paid circulators can only so many signatures per day so the number needed to hire is quite large, probably larger than the available pool of experienced ones.

          I expect some out-of-state circulating firms would probably come in to offer to help (for the right price of course).

      • BlueCat says:

        though I doubt it can be done under the time constraints. Gessler clearly has never had any intention of serving  in a non-partisan capacity, looking out for the interests of all Colorado citizens, which is what the office requires.

        The fact that so many county clerks, regardless of affiliation, oppose this onerous “solution” to yet another fabricated problem in yet another thinly  disguised attempt to tip the partisan scales in our elections, says it all.

        As long as we continue to be stuck with this SOS, it’s good to know that most of our county clerks, who are the officials most closely involved with the nuts and bolts of our elections, really are dedicated to running the fairest elections they possibly can and encouraging and facilitating the fullest possible participation.  Without them and their integrity, nothing would stand between us and an SOS clearly dedicated to nothing beyond voter suppression in the service of his party.

    • AristotleAristotle says:

      I can understand the desire to avoid the expense of a special election, but wouldn’t a recall get lost in the ballot when it’s a presidential election?

      I worry that a recall would succeed because I think general voters don’t necessarily perceive hyper-partisanship as recall worthy, even when the subject in question is taking action to minimize active voter participation. Those of us who pay attention understand that he’s behaving free of the constraints of ethics, but many people think that’s only the case when someone breaks the law. And since unethical policies aren’t against the law…

      It would seem to me that the effort would be more successful if there was a special election, because it would be the only thing on the ballot. Again, I understand the desire to avoid the expense (especially since the ‘pubs would harp on it endlessly), but there’s little point in going through with a recall if it’s more likely to fail.

      • Dan WillisDan Willis says:

        with any issue on a persidential ballot. They would likely lose support if it meant having a special election, say in the dead of winter or next spring.

        from a practical standpoint, replacing the SoS would be better at a general election because his replacement would then have the full election cycle to do his/her own thing rather than haveing to change course from a previous SoS.

        As for the message, if the Dems were smart, they would focus their attention on Gessler’s flauting of the law rather than his partisanship. It would be far easier to boot him as someone who believes he is above the law.

        • AristotleAristotle says:

          We can say he’s flaunting the law, but unless he’s impeached for something, it’s not legally true.

          I’d love to see the man recalled, but it doesn’t sound realistic unless someone can prove that he’s making his rulings for materially corrupt reasons instead of morally corrupt ones.

    • VanDammerVanDammer says:

      the # of signatures required or % of last voter turnout to get the recall?  And what would be the safe # of signatures to overcome an audit?

      You seem to know the process so wondering if you know some of the details?  

    • MADCO says:

      Can’t we just indict the guy?  And shame him into resignation without a trial?

      Oh wait- indictments generally require someone to break the law.  He’s the kind of SOS I would prefer – but a criminal?

      Recall worthy?  I don’t see it.  The resources involved in replacing him – trying to replace him – before the next election date could be better deployed.  How about the D’s take back the House? CO and DC.  That is going to take some resources – and would yield a much bigger payback.

  3. Gilpin Guy says:

    is that it allows the Obama campaign to focus attention early on Gessler so that when he inevitably tries to steal the 2012 electroal votes for the Rombot, they will be ready.

    • Ralphie says:

      Price of gasoline, Gessler; price of gasoline, Gessler…


      Which do you think people are going to care more about?

        • Ralphie says:

          about the price of gas, you’re mistaken.

          And whether it involves the President or not, well, when you’re explaining you’re losing.

        • AristotleAristotle says:

          Perception is reality, and there’s a wide perception that the president CAN do a lot about gas prices.

          I still don’t think Obama will lose – Rmoney just keeps putting his foot in his mouth, over and over, and is even less charismatic than John Kerry (what is it about Massachusetts politicians who aren’t named Kennedy, anyway?), and the GOP regulars don’t want him, either. But high gas prices will make congressional races much harder for the Dems to win, and we’re fucked if they can’t retake the House and make some gains in the Senate.

          • Sir RobinSir Robin says:

            and we’re fucked if they can’t retake the House and make some gains in the Senate.

            Gear up everyone and gird your loins for an epic battle. Does anyone think that with all of the assholes President Obama has had to deal with during his Presidency (He should have been a proctologist), that this won’t be a no holds barred, all out friggin war!?  

      • Tom says:

        the Obama campaign legal team that will be focusing attention. With any luck, they’ll throw out enough money to have a team dedicated just to Colorado and that they have the clout and acumen to name, shame, and file injunctions appropriately to keep Gessler in line.

  4. The average voter, who is a non-political junkie, does not care what Colorado Democratic Party chairman Rick Palacio has to say about Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler.  Pushing for a recall because Gessler testified against a bill in a committee hearing seems to fly in the face of the principle of free speech.

    Most of those average voters like Gessler’s advocacy of photo ID for voting, or at the very least, for registering to vote.  They are bewildered at how certain folks can do all the things the rest of us cannot do without having a photo ID… like check cashing. picking up a package at the post office, renting various items, etc.

    Even if a recall effort was mounted, all Gessler would have to do is remind those average voters that his Democratic predecessor wanted same day voter registration.  Very few of the average voter class were ever comfortable with that concept!    

  5. ArapaGOPArapaGOP says:

    I heard Rick and friends discovered that it’s impossible and they would look like idiots for trying. What did this prove again? That Democrats engage mouths before brains!

    I know that but some of you needed to learn. Again!

  6. ArapaGOPArapaGOP says:


    Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler probably said it best in a recent 5280 Magazine profile: “If I’m the honey badger, [the Democrats] are the poisonous snakes-and by the way, they get their heads bit off and the honey badger prevails.”

    Gessler’s embrace of the nickname Democrats have given him is a sign he’s a lot more politically savvy than most people give him credit for. (On that note, we hope to see Sal Pace embrace the many nicknames we have given him.)

    The Dems were trying to tag Gessler as someone who doesn’t care about what his critics say, as if that were a bad thing. The problem for Democrats is Gessler doesn’t care, but that doesn’t meant their hatred of him has no effect.

    In fact, it is Democrats’ blinding hatred of Gessler that has caused them to do something epically, historically stupid.

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