Colorado Secretary of State-elect Scott Gessler sat down for a brief interview with the cam-wielding
GOP staffers “journalists” at WhoSaidYouSaid. Now, we know what you’re probably thinking: we’ve been hard on Gessler for his background as the state’s leading election law offender, now very oddly in charge of enforcing election law. But when we saw this interview had been posted, we realized that we were honor-bound to give Mr. Gessler an honest hearing.
Right up to the moment he explained his “top two or three” priorities.
Scott Gessler’s top priorities:
1. Photo ID required at the polls.
2. Proof of “citizenship,” too. Gessler doesn’t think he can actually pass a bill “with the current state senate,” but he thinks it would be “good to have that debate.”
So why, you ask, of all the issues that Gessler could consider a “top priority,” the perennial specter of illegal immigrants flooding the polls is at the top of his list? Because for one thing, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that either has happened or is likely to. As you probably read earlier this fall, several thousand voter registrations were rejected in Colorado, due to a small checkbox for citizenship affirmation that was left blank. In most cases, the registrant probably just overlooked it, but it was caught. And by a Democratic Secretary of State no less.
That’s in part because it’s a federal crime and a deportable offense to try to vote in a federal or state election as a noncitizen. It has been since at least 1996. What exactly can Gessler do, or even the state legislature, that would be more of a deterrent than that?
Well, yes–he can just make it really hard to vote. For everybody.
Even better, the interviewer notes that she voted this year using a utility bill as identification–she asks Gessler, how many people vote using a utility bill like she did? Gessler responds by saying “I don’t think there are statistics on that,” and says that’s something we “need to take a look at.”
Because, you know, it’s not like we need proof there’s a problem!
This is not exactly alleviating widely-held concerns that Gessler is going to make a joke of the Secretary of State’s office, in ways that Gigi Dennis could only have dreamed of.