Today, the Colorado Senate passed an important piece of legislation that will ensure Colorado’s Electoral College votes go to the presidential candidate who wins the nationwide popular vote–a controversial subject in smaller states including Colorado, but after the last two Republican presidents won office despite losing the popular vote, in President Donald Trump’s case by almost three million votes nationwide, a matter of increasing urgency.
Senate Bill 19-042 seems headed into law with the House likely to pass it and Gov. Jared Polis already indicating he will sign it. But Republicans in the Senate have bitterly sounded the alarm over this bill, declaring it a usurpation of Colorado’s sacred right to individual votes in presidential elections that count for more than individual votes in California and New York.
And in the case of Republican Sen. Vicki Marble, one of the fieriest of the Republican firebrands left in the Senate GOP minority, the arguments against this bill quickly veered into the twilight zone:
MARBLE: Thank you Mr. Chair, I did vote against this in committee, and I am against this today. We’re talking about “every vote counts.” And I’m going to come around to this a little bit different way than anybody else has spoke on it this, this morning and afternoon and in committee. In Colorado, we are so fortunate because we have the most secure voting system in the United States. It’s really sad that all Secretary of States aren’t created equal and neither are their systems. My vote does count in Colorado, I am assured of that. But on the national level, I have a question that I want to pose to you.
When you look at Texas, 95,000 people identified by the Department of Public Safety were non-US citizens, and 58,000 of those voted in one or more Texas elections. But voter fraud isn’t just in Texas. [Pols emphasis] It’s in voting districts nationwide. Eight Virginia counties had 1,046 noncitizen registered to vote. In Pennsylvania, they sent out 100,000 voter registration cards. And they weren’t sent to people who were registered voters, they were just sent to people who had driver’s licenses.
My vote and your vote should not be cancelled out by the national popular vote of those who may not even be citizens and we know a lot of them aren’t. Until we get equal, equal safety precautions across our nation, in the Secretary of States to be able to ensure that our voters are having their voice heard. But my vote and your vote should not be cancelled out by another state who is registering people who have no legal authority to vote. The national popular vote for U.S. citizens or the national vote for just anybody who cares to cast their vote on that day, this is exactly what this bill does. The Boston Herald is the one who came out with all of these numbers, and I’m glad that did. It was updated today. Perfect timing for second reading.
But honestly, when you look at Colorado and how lucky we are, how can we give our votes to the national popular vote when we don’t even know if these people are U.S. citizens. So I am a no, a very very huge no, on 42.
So, there’s a lot of crazy to unpack. It’s very interesting to see Sen. Marble laud Colorado’s mail ballot election system as the “most secure in the United States,” since the overwhelming consensus among the vote-fraud conspiracy theory crowd is that Colorado’s elections are wildly insecure.
But the really interesting part here is Marble’s claim that 58,000 “noncitizens” voted in Texas elections. Politifact just addressed this false claim after President Donald Trump himself Tweeted about it, and their debunking will ring quite familiar to followers of Colorado politics:
State officials looked at two sets of data for their current investigation: the names of people who provided documents indicating they were not citizens when they obtained a driver’s license or a state ID, and the names of people who registered to vote.
That resulted in a list of 95,000 people with a current driver’s license or state ID who also had a voter registration record in Texas. Of those, 58,000 people voted in elections back to 1996, said Sam Taylor, a spokesman for the secretary of State…
“Indeed, between 52,000-63,000 are naturalized every year in Texas,” Texas Civil Rights Project spokesman Zenén Jaimes Pérez told PolitiFact. [Pols emphasis]
Back in 2011, Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler performed a very similar “analysis” of Colorado records to produce a list of thousands of supposed “noncitizen voters.” In truth Gessler’s wild claims of thousands of illegal voters resulted in a ridiculously tiny number of actual prosecutions for vote fraud–literally less than a dozen. The reason was simple: although some voters had obtained driver’s licenses as noncitizens, during the period in question tens of thousands of Colorado residents became U.S. citizens–more than enough to account for any supposed discrepancy. Similarly in Texas, enough people are naturalized every year to account for the 58,000 alleged to have voted since 1996.
It’s remarkable to us that four years after Gessler left office, the false claims he made that were debunked all those years ago–and even the same flawed methodology that produced them–are being repeated in Texas, reported uncritically by Texas media, and then regurgitated back here in Colorado where everyone should know better.
Anyway, now you do. Please tell your friends.