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April 10, 2011 02:02 AM UTC

Rosen Pats Gessler on the Back, Even after Gessler Admits He Doesn't Need Legislation He's Pushing

  • by: Jason Salzman

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s spokesperson, not Gessler himself, spoke to The Denver Post for a story Thursday reporting that Gessler doesn’t need legislative approval to make sure noncitizens aren’t voting in Colorado elections.

But Gessler found time Friday to join Mike Rosen for a friendly chat on his KOA radio show about the article.

Rosen said The Post story read more like a editorial than a news story, though he never proved this, and he asked Gessler about some of the points raised in it.

He started by asking if Gessler was familiar with the studies, referred to in The Post, which show that noncitizens don’t vote illegally in significant numbers, because the penalties (e.g., deportation, 10-year prison term) are so severe that voting isn’t worth it to them.

“You know, I’m not familiar with these studies,” answered Gessler. “I’m sure they dug something up. But I can tell you something. That conclusion is absolutely untrue. In Colorado alone, in the last few years, we had over 150 people who were noncitizens who were registered to vote. Some of them actually voted. And then they withdrew their registration. They voluntarily realized that they had goofed up, and they withdrew their registration. So, I mean, that’s absolutely untrue, that conclusion in this news story.”

Rosen did not ask Gessler why he wasn’t familiar with the studies, given that he’s launched a time-consuming initiative to stop the very problem that the studies claim is not significant.

Neither did Rosen ask Gessler if he’s sure the 150 weren’t citizens by the time they voted, or why Gessler’s not working with county clerks make sure noncitizens are not voting.

Rosen then asked Gessler whether Rep. Charles Gonzales (D-TX) was correct when he told Gessler that Gessler’s claims were unsupported and his case about illegal voting would not hold up under legal scrutiny.

“Well, that’s just silly,” Gessler told Rosen. “I would suggest that people go up there and look at the exchange between myself and Congressman Gonzales. And he said, you can’t prosecute someone on this evidence. And I said, of course not. That’s not why we’re doing this. I’m not looking to prosecute people. This is an investigative tool. We’re looking to administratively make sure that our voting roles are clean. I mean, I started off as a prosecutor. And I think at the end of the day Gonzales looked a little bit silly with his questioning.”

Rosen told Gessler that The Post reported that Gessler does not need legislative approval to investigate whether noncitizens are voting.

“Well, that’s really sort of interesting,” said Gessler. The backdrop behind that, I went into The Denver Post editorial board, and they sort of beat me up during the interview, and they said, why don’t you just do this already, and I explained the legal framework.  And their editorial the next day was, this was a power grab by Gessler. First they suspected I should just do it. Then they called it a power grab. And now they are reporting, as a matter of fact, that I have the tools to do it. So, I guess I should take that article and go forward and do whatever I want.”

Gessler implies here that he does not, in fact, have the power to identify noncitizens on the voter rolls, as The Post claims he does.

To his credit, Rosen followed up with a direct question: “Do you think you have the tools to do it?”

“You know, it’s ambiguous,” said Gessler. “We may, but there’s couple areas here. You have the civil rights aspect of it. You’ve got the privacy of information. And in part, that’s why we have not done anything right now, because we get this information from the Department of Motor Vehicles, and we really have to keep that stuff private. There’s a lot of rules governing that, too. And then, of course, you have the controversy of reaching out to people and asking for more evidence and placing them in a suspended status or if you have clear evidence that they are not citizens, removing them from the roles. So there’s a legal thicket here, and we’re working our way through it. My thumb in the air, not thumb in the air, but our initial analysis is pretty ambiguous. And so I think there’s a pathway where we can do that [BigMedia emphasis], but I’d much rather have legislative authority and just clear things up and go forward and do it.”

So, it took a while, but Gessler confirmed the thesis of The Post’s piece.

Rosen asked Gessler about The Post’s assertion that Gessler would not provide the names of the 4,947 people who, according to Gessler, may have voted illegally.

“It’s just crazy to publish people’s names,” said Gessler, apparently without knowing whether The Post actually planned on publishing them. “I mean, I can’t even believe The Denver Post even asked for that. I mean, they want to get the names of these people and then start calling them. I don’t know if they want to post them on their website and publish the names as well. If you have someone who’s suspected of being a noncitizen and improperly voting, the last thing you do is immediately publish their name publicly and try to embarrass and humiliate them. I’m not in that type of business. I’m just amazed, and it’s not just The Denver Post, I mean, the Huffington Post as well, and I think there’s another newspaper too, and they wanted names of people so they could start calling them and publishing their names.”

Rosen went on to say that “the game that The Denver Post is playing here is the Joe McCarthy card…This is what The Post is trying to do to you: ‘Gessler claims 4,947 people voted illegally. I want their names. We want to know who they are.'”

Rosen made a mistake here, smearing The Post really, because The Post never made this claim. It accurately reported Gessler’s statement that 4,947 legal immigrants may have voted illegally.

Overall, as you can see, Rosen was off his game with Gessler on his show Friday.

Normally, Rosen’s show is much better than many conservative shows, and even Friday, Rosen, who’s smart and sometimes reasonable (even if he’s at times a gratuitous bully) asked a few decent questions.

But the Mike Rosen Show did not deserve to be named “Best Talk Radio Show” for 2011 by Westword. That honor should have gone to the Caplis and Silverman show, which arguably played a role in changing the course of Colorado history last year.


2 thoughts on “Rosen Pats Gessler on the Back, Even after Gessler Admits He Doesn’t Need Legislation He’s Pushing

  1. we had over 150 people who were noncitizens who were registered to vote. Some of them actually voted. And then they withdrew their registration. They voluntarily realized that they had goofed up, and they withdrew their registration. So, I mean, that’s absolutely untrue, that conclusion in this news story.”

    Doesn’t that actually support the article?  According to Gessler, Mr. Hair on  Fire over non-citizen voting, a tiny number out of the entire non-citizen population registered but most of that tiny number withdrew their registration when they realized they had “goofed”.  All Gessler can point to is a vague “some” of that small number that actually voted and he does so without providing anything concrete.  I mean if it was “some” out if 150, he should have been able to site a specific documented list. It wouldn’t even have been a long one.

    Far more than “some out of 150”, routinely in presidential elections, receive false notices that their polling place has changed,  that they will be busted if they have any traffic violations , that the voting day is for some reason different for them courtesy of charming dirty trick organizations like campus Young Republican groups but I’m not hearing Gessler urging more serious consequences for that sort of thing, even though it’s far more pervasive.

    When my son was working as a volunteer supervisor for the Kerry campaign as a University student, he and his volunteers spent most of their time in the last couple of weeks before election day tracking down those who had received such false notifications to make sure they knew when and where to vote and that there would be no consequences if they had outstanding tickets. Whole student and mainly minority apartment complexes were littered with official looking false notices, courtesy of Young Republican groups.

    No similar dirty tricks were ever connected with the student Dems at the time, to whom these things just didn’t seem to occur, nor were there any top down “suggestions” to pull such stunts. Bet Gessler is familiar with all of these techniques if he was an activist campus R in his youth.

  2. Silverman is now a birther.  Caplis attacks a mother who “dares” to advocate for her child when she believes he has been abused and even, “horrors”, goes to the media. I can’t imagine why a  catholic lawyer  would wish to discourage mothers from publicly advocating for their children if they thought they had been abused, can you?  But hey, you call these clowns the “Best Talk radio Show” for 2011… each his own.

    As for changing Colorado history, Tancredo announced on the boyles show and I believe that the famous Tancredo/Wadhams fight took place on that show….but I could be wrong.

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