Charges Dropped In First of Gessler’s Four Vote Fraud Cases

Scott Gessler.

Scott Gessler.

As the Colorado Independent's John Tomasic reports:

The charge has been dropped in what’s believed to be the first voter fraud case set for trial since Secretary of State Scott Gessler urged district attorneys statewide to prosecute people who purportedly are cheating Colorado’s election system.

Mike Michaelis was scheduled to be tried today for allegedly procuring false information on a voter registration form. Michaelis, 41 and now in construction, registered voters in 2012 on behalf of Work for Progress, a nonprofit that, as its website states, campaigns “for social justice, a fair economy, consumer protection, clean energy, and the environment.”

On a voter registration form submitted to Michaelis by Aurora resident Lydie Kouadio, a box was marked saying she is a U.S. citizen. Gessler’s office determined she isn’t. Her name was among 155 voters the Secretary of State deemed to be suspicious. Last June, Gessler sent prosecutors lists of residents in their districts for possible prosecution…

Winnowing down from Secretary of State Scott Gessler's original breathless claim that "thousands" of noncitizens had voted illegally in Colorado elections, we are finally at the bottom line after countless man-hours spent by his office, county clerks, and local law enforcement in pursuit of this alleged epidemic of vote fraud–four incidents where Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler, far and away the state's most partisan political district attorney, managed to put together enough of a case to file charges.

And now there are three.

Soon after taking office in 2011, Gessler, a longtime Republican election lawyer, claimed there were 16,000 noncitizens registered to vote in Colorado. Soon after, he said he identified 11,805 people as potentially fraudulent voters because they used noncitizen identification for drivers’ licenses with which they registered to vote.

Those figures, he said, backed up his claims that there was a “gaping hole” in the state’s voting system.

But Gessler’s numbers were off — way off – even as he alerted a congressional panel about Colorado’s purported rash of voter fraud.

Far from being a major systemic problem, the "illegal voters" Gessler actually uncovered amount to far less than the number of ballots and voter registrations Gessler's office routinely loses. Gessler's original insistence that many thousands of illegally registered voters were lurking in the rolls has become one of the most thoroughly discredited claims put forward by a Colorado politician in recent years. It's tough to understand why the near-total failure to substantiate a problem Gessler warned about in such certain and ominous terms has not ended his political career.

Perhaps it has, but we can't write that eulogy until after the primary.

6 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ModeratusModeratus says:

    Instead of excusing vote fraud, you should thank Gessler for following through. Gessler hasn't tried to hide anything, and Republicans support his work to support election integrity. The voters will not punish him for vigilance, they will reward it.

    Gessler will win the primatu June 24th. See you then!

  2. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    Oh, Modster, your loyalty is commendable, but love is blind. Gessler's flaw has always been that he tried to make rules based on fantasy Tea party talking points: 

    • Voter fraud is real
    • Government is wasteful, so
    • Businesses need to pay lower fees to government
    • Voters are all out to game the system

    and the problem has always been that there is no substance to these suppositions.  He wasted millions of dollars trying to make them real. Gessler is  one of the original "hollow men". 

  3. DavieDavie says:

    Not only did Brauchler drop the charges (his office had proof of innocence back in January that they only yesterday acknowledged), he had this to say:

    Of the 41 names Brauchler said Gessler sent him, Brauchler’s investigator found only four cases to prosecute, including Michaelis’s, the one he threw out Tuesday.

    “It’s hard to imagine how four of anything would be considered epidemic. We have far more overdose deaths and murders” than fraud cases, he said.

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