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September 30, 2011 06:11 PM UTC

Gessler: No Ballots For Those Soldiers

  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE: #2: Now a statement from Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder Gilbert Ortiz after the jump, announcing that his office will “reluctantly” comply with Gessler’s order to not send mail ballots to overseas deployed military marked “inactive failed to vote.”

“Pueblo County will honor Secretary Gessler’s order,” Ortiz said, “but this is not over. Pueblo County is currently weighing our legal options including taking the issue to court. The Secretary of State effectively has denied 64 active military personnel the opportunity to vote.”


UPDATE: Rep. Charles Gonzalez of the House Administration Committee Elections Subcommittee rips Gessler for denying ballots to deployed military personnel in a press release today (full text after the jump)–“a violation of federal law.”

“Mr. Gessler’s misguided efforts now threaten voter suppression not only in Denver County but among members of our armed services, men and women on active duty in war zones. His misinterpretation of the law is not only illegal but deprives Colorado citizens of their most fundamental right: the right to vote…”


Following up our discussion yesterday of Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s attempts to stop Colorado counties from mailing ballots to all registered voters–now including deployed military voters in Pueblo County listed as “inactive”–the Pueblo Chieftain reports today…

This is pretty astonishing, folks.

“I want an order from the secretary’s office by Friday (today) saying that I cannot send out those ballots because I believe I should under the (Uniform Military and Overseas Voters Act),” Ortiz said Thursday morning.

He got his answer at closing time Thursday. Gessler’s letter to Ortiz said the secretary of state was sticking to his position that no inactive voters should get ballots sent to them this election – including out-of-area military voters, or those “covered” by the Uniform Military and Overseas Voters Act. [Pols emphasis]

“A covered voter who is registered to vote may apply for a ballot. Ballots are not automatically sent to covered voters,” Gessler’s letter said. “Thus, Pueblo County may only send mail ballots to inactive voters who submit a timely request as required by the (Act).”

…[B]ringing military voters into the dispute casts it in a different light and Ortiz did that this week. While Gessler has made the news this year with charges about illegal voters casting ballots in the 2010 election, no one has suggested that fraud occurred among any military voters. [Pols emphasis]

Ortiz said his office already has sent out about 600 ballots to military voters who voted in 2010 in order to meet the 45-day requirement for them to get their ballots in time. But he said Gessler’s office contacted him just before that deadline and told him to hold the ballots for inactive voters – which amounts to about 70 ballots for inactive military voters.

In a letter to Gessler on Tuesday, Ortiz said Kogovsek advised him that Gessler’s reading of the law is wrong.

We’re going to spare you the rhetoric about depriving our men and women in uniform the right to vote, while deployed, defending our freedom and so forth. You know how this looks.

On a practical level, we’re starting to wonder if Gessler considered all of the potential consequences of his decision to try to stop Denver and Pueblo counties from sending mail ballots to all of their registered voters with deliverable addresses. Gessler has argued that the temporary nature of a law passed in 2008 mandating that shows the legislature was concerned about the “cost and opportunity for fraud” of sending mail ballots to all deliverable registered voters in a mail ballot-only election. Even though the statute nowhere says that ballots will be sent only to “active” registered voters, that’s how Gessler is insisting the law be interpreted.

What this could represent is a major unintended problem with the all mail-ballot system in Colorado. In an all mail ballot election, which we understand all but a couple of counties are holding this year, the different provisioning of ballots to two different classes of voters–“active” and “inactive”–and the ease with which one can pass from active to inactive status, simply by missing a single election cycle for whatever reason, could be creating a situation where many tens of thousands of Coloradans’ voting rights are being violated.

Do you understand what we are saying? What if every mail-ballot county who is not mailing ballots to “inactive” voters is in violation of federal election law? Would that not at least be correct in the case of overseas military voters if Pueblo County Attorney Dan Kogovsek is right?

Understand that we’re just asking questions, which seem to be pretty logical questions, all based on developments in this story in the last two weeks. If this mail ballot situation, either in the case of the lawsuit against Denver or throughout the state of Colorado, amounts to a gross violation of federal election law, it’s a good thing that the Justice Department has been asked to look into what’s going on. In any event, a legislative remedy for this situation is clearly necessary: if it’s right that the unequal provisioning of mail ballots to “active” vs. “inactive” voters is unlawful, simply making the aforementioned temporary rules permanent would be the place to start.

The only thing we can add is this: in our experience, situations like these tend to come to a head when somebody is trying to exploit the system. Gessler is teaching Colorado why we need to be explicitly clear in statute of legislative intent on matters like election law. If you write a sloppy election-related bill, or insert a sloppy amendment into one, Scott Gessler will turn it into a stick to beat the state of Colorado with. For as long as he has the power.

Pueblo County Clerk Ortiz Ordered Not to Mail Military Ballots

Pueblo County Clerk Gilbert “Bo” Ortiz today announced he will reluctantly comply with Secretary of State Scott Gessler order not to mail ballots to registered military overseas voters, despite his deep concern that the order will disenfranchise men and women serving our country.

“Pueblo County will honor Secretary Gessler’s order,” Ortiz said, “but this is not over. Pueblo County is currently weighing our legal options including taking the issue to court. The Secretary of State effectively has denied 64 active military personnel the opportunity to vote.”

The Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s office ordered Ortiz not to mail ballots to oversees military personnel over a dispute in the interpretation of state law. Gessler has filed a complaint in court to stop Denver Clerk Debra Johnson from mailing to inactive voters in the November election. Inactive voters are defined as those who did not vote in the last general election.

Last week, Gessler acknowledged that Johnson has already mailed her overseas ballots and would not pursue action against her office on those ballots. Ortiz, who agrees with Johnson’s interpretation of the law, announced this week he would mail ballot to all registered oversees military voters – known in election law as “UOCAVA voters for the Uniformed Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.

“It’s only right that Pueblo residents who are serving our country in the military should have the chance to cast their ballot here at home,” Ortiz said.  “Military men and women should be given every opportunity to participate in the democracy they’re defending …they may be listed as “inactive” voters in our system, but when they’re on active duty how can we deny them a ballot?”


Gonzalez Condemns Move to Deny Ballots to Military Voters

San Antonio – Rep. Charles A. Gonzalez, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Elections, released the following statement in response to Colorado Secretary of State Gessler’s decision to prohibit Pueblo County to mail ballots for Colorado’s upcoming election to military voters deployed overseas.

“Mr. Gessler’s misguided efforts now threaten voter suppression not only in Denver County but among members of our armed services, men and women on active duty in war zones. His misinterpretation of the law is not only illegal but deprives Colorado citizens of their most fundamental right: the right to vote. I have asked the Department of Justice to include this new development in their investigation of Mr. Gessler’s activities.”

In a letter to Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder Gilbert Ortiz, Gessler announced his decision as “an order from the Secretary of State not to send mail ballots to inactive – failed to vote UOCAVA electors.” The acronym, short for “Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act”, refers there to military or overseas voters whose did not vote in the last general election.

In 2009, by strong and bipartisan majorities in both chambers, Congress enacted the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act to help ensure that Americans were not denied their right to vote simply because they were abroad at election time. Among its provisions to protect deployed servicemembers, 42 USC 1973ff-6(1)(A), is one requiring states to send them ballots for all federal elections, 42 USC 1973ff-1(a)8. To comply with this law, the Colorado legislature adopted the “Uniform Military and Overseas Voters Act” which requires local election officials to send ballots to all “covered voters”, §1-8.3-110, C.R.S. (2011), in “Any other election coordinated by the county clerk and recorder.” §1-8.3-103, C.R.S. (2011)

Neither federal law nor Colorado law makes a distinction between active and inactive voters. The interpretation of the law offered by the Secretary of State and Attorney General, however, would not only not require ballots to be sent out, as the MOVE Act requires, but prohibit them, as appears to be happening in Pueblo County now. This would be a violation of federal law. In a letter to Gessler, Ortiz reports that Pueblo County Attorney Dan Kogovsek argues this is a violation of state law as well.

Mr. Gonzalez has referred this matter to the Department of Justice, following up on his previous letter of concern about possible illegal disenfranchisement of Colorado voters.



73 thoughts on “Gessler: No Ballots For Those Soldiers

  1. must be sent to all registered voters who have requested permanent mail in ballot status and to all registered voters for all elections designated mail in elections regardless of voting history unless the last mailed ballot has been returned as undeliverable and no new address has been provided.  Making voters, including our troops, jump through hoops for missing an election or two is not acceptable. Period. Anyone who supports Gessler in this travesty ought to be deeply ashamed.

  2. What do you propose? Bankrupt the counties and allow ballots to fly willy-nilly to dead people, rentals that have been vacant for two years, or worse?

    Scott Gessler is trying to ensure uniformity in the standards for ballots across the state. He should be commended for once again trying to clean up the problems created by shoddy billwriting (this is one area where I actually agree with Pols). There are always some issues with voters who need to update their information to vote. 70 ballots?!? This is not a federal case, or even a county case. Have somebody at the Pueblo clerk call them all and reactivate them if they’re so worried.

    Much political ado about nothing. Get over yourselves! Ask Bernie Buescher how much Democrats care about the military vote except when it suits them!

    You should stop this hypocrisy right now, Pols. You are insulting a good man.

      1. and delivered via private courier…

        Or something.  Look, SoS Gessler is trying to protect the right of military service men and women to vote by making it very difficult for many of them to vote.  The franchise is the most cherished of civil rights, and thus the SoS needs to make it very difficult for people to actually exercise it, especially if there is some likelihood that they might vote Democratic.  Because we all know Dems really hate the troops (and thus want to support the troops voting).  Sure, the optics look terrible, but that is just because Democrats are insulting a good man.  

      2. Just like the GOP did with the practice of “caging” potential votes of black servicemen and servicewomen in the Jacksonville, FL area on active duty in the 2004 election.  

        I’m sure they’d prefer that we’d buy the line that it isn’t a big deal, because its so fucking wrong !

        Scott Gessler is a patriot who just also happens to be a stickler for uniformity in standards ! That is fucking rich.  

    1. *Not intended to be a factual statement…

      So, our troops are deployed overseas, perhaps for their fourth or fifth time, in a protracted war, flagging support at home, life on the line…but whoops, neglected to vote in 2010 so, yeah, tell ’em they need to request a ballot 1 month out from the election and that–otherwise–that franchise they are, at least in theory, battling to protect doesn’t extend to them.  Nice job jerk.  Way to stand up for the troops.  

      Insulting a good man?  

      Not me, just calling a POS a POS.  I consider it accurate and well deserved; not really an insult (there is much worse that could be said, quite mild really) and certainly earned.  

      From all appearances it seems that Sect. of State Gessler is indeed a POS. I believe this to be a factual statement (with this disclaimer: POS meaning a person who is in all manner of behavior equivalent in value to an actual turd, not meaning that they are composed entirely of feces).  

    2. Of course elecitons cost money but that is never the point. Mr. Gessler’s job is to see to it that as many people have the opportunity to vote as possible. Putting impediments in their way isn’t part of his job description. Yesterday, he made another not only unfounded allegation, but one he knew was just plain false, that election fraud has a high incidence amont inactive voters in Denver when he knew the 200 ballots investigated by the Denver DA found no fraud. If he didn’t knbow that then he was speaking from ignorance and literally making up facts to try and defend himself.

      How can you possibly defend such behavior?

    3. These kids are overseas fighting for their country.  They deserve the same rights as the people they’re fighting for.

      70 votes isn’t going to bankrupt anyone.

      If you read Gessler’s memo to the clerks, you’d find out that it’s not about saving postage.  His proposed solution was to contact people again by mail–too late for this election, of course.

      And it is a federal case.  See the MOVE Act.

      It’s one of the reasons why the Legislature changed the election calendar last session.

      As for Gessler being a “good man,” we’ll leave that to a higher power to decide.

    4. because the person no longer lives at the address are returned. In that case ballots need not be sent out in the next election unless the new address is submitted.  

      Denver and Pueblo don’t seem to be concerned about being bankrupted. Why are you?

      How much do you suppose Gessler will cost tax payers litigating this?

      If counties decide that the best solution to avoid litigation is to do away with mail in elections and go back to precinct polling places for all elections except for absentees, that will cost a lot more than sending some ballots to bad addresses once, after which they will be returned as undeliverable.

      Cranking up overblown hysteria about non-problems, including the non-problem of illegal aliens trying to vote with not one documented case so far, is a tired old tactic unlikely to work for much longer. If you expect us to believe that Gessler’s concern is saving counties money you ‘re expectation is ridiculous. Fraud?  There is no documentation of ineligible people voting with other people’s ballots sent to their address in error.  

      There is no problem here to be solved by this suit.  Now that it’s clear Gessler doesn’t care if he screws our military men and women in the process of suppressing the Democratic leaning vote, this will not be a popular move among Rs and Us who really do support our troops.  Guess you agree with Gessler that’s a small price to pay to gain some electoral advantage, ArapG. I’m embarrassed for you.

      1. Who are inactive because their non-forwardable voter information cards were bounced back by the Postal Service are in a different class: Inactive-Returned Mail.

        This is about people classed as Inactive-Failed to Vote.

      2. …there has already been a non-forwardable postcard sent to those folks who did not vote in 2010. If they had moved or died, thatpostcard would have been sent back to the Clerk’s office and the voter would then be changed “returned mail” and a ballot would not be sent to them.

        So the number of ballots being sent to be people who have moved/died is even further reduced. Ballots which will be bounced are far more likely sent to the voters who DID vote in 2010 because there has not been a follow up piece of mail to check to see if they have moved/died since.

        1. I just realized that there HAVE been more mailings in Denver because we had two elections this past spring. Making the whole argument about preventing fraud all the more ludicrous.

    5. You either know that those folks are not in the list of voters we’re talking about, and should stop telling lies, or you’re woefully misinformed about this topic and should bring yourself up to speed before you embarrass yourself further.

      1. Republicans’ positions are so weak they can only get elected when the voice of the people is weakened by voter suppression, and their arguments can only be defended by lies.

    6. Uniformity of standards, eh? Better that the standards be as broad as possible, so every eligible voter (that means US citizens at least 18 years of age who has registered to vote, without any other qualifiers whatsoever) has a fair chance to exercise their duty.

      Expenditures are the counties’ problems. They have some minimum obligations to meet; this is one of them.

      Nice biased news link, BTW.

      1. He wants to limit participation by manufacturing ‘fraud’ where there is no evidence of any…

        He wants to lessen the burden on those who break the law (including his former clients), and ‘donate time’ to help pay off the fines he levied.

        When forced to move the Gessler Laramie circus behind private walls, he blamed the media.  What a classy guy.  

        Regarding voting: Clearly the presumption should be on inclusion, not exclusion.  The preponderance of evidence should be provided by those wanting to limit the franchise, not those that want to ensure, with the broadest surety, that everyone who is eligible can indeed vote.  

        That Gessler’s partisan pursuit to rig the game in Colorado is used to disenfranchise troops is particularly graphic, but disenfranchising any American voter is disgusting, unAmerican and, dare I say it?, treasonous.  

        In the end it looks to me that Mr. Gessler understands that his Party’s failed ideas will eventually sour more and more voters, and that not being able to win on a fair field doesn’t mean his benefactors still don’t want to win.  He is just serving his clients, after all.  But it ain’t the people of Colorado.  

        1. That Gessler’s partisan pursuit to rig the game in Colorado is used to disenfranchise troops is particularly graphic, but disenfranchising any American voter is disgusting, unAmerican and, dare I say it?, treasonous.

          is going to be Gessler’s Waterloo.

            1. can bring it all back… how Gessler sued to screw the troops figuring prominently.  And the story will be just as effective if it has a happy ending and he loses the suit. Ads can still remind everyone how this dastardly plot was defeated and of all the other sleazy things he’s bound to do by then if he isn’t recalled or forced to resign over something criminal in the meantime.  The ads ought to read like a  rap sheet.  If he doesn’t run again we can probably find quotes from whichever R does run supporting his every sleazy move.  

    7. So Buescher asked for a waiver because he felt he needed a deadline extension, then immediately complied with the deadline when the waiver wasn’t granted. Yeah just like what Gessler is doing….NOT.

      1. If you recall, Buescher was between a rock and a hard place.  The State statutes said one thing, the newly enacted MOVE Act (2009) said another.

        Buescher did the right thing–he asked for a waiver, then complied (as you said).

        He also worked with the Legislature to draft up the required changes to the election calendar in the State statutes, which were enacted after he left office.

        Gessler is in a somewhat similar position with regard to campaign finance.  He has a statute that says one thing, and a court decision that says another.  Rather than go to the Legislature, Gessler’s approach thus far has been to unilaterally do a rulemaking that usurps the power of the Legislature, creates a massive loophole in the campaign finance reporting system, and WAY exceeds the problem the Court had in the case (which was an “as applied” challenge to the statute).

        He’s being sued as a result.

    8. No one is claiming the law says counties MUST mail ballots to inactive voters. But, if a county has the funds and desire to mail them out to inactive voters then they have that authority.

      And I disagree about the law being poorly written. It says “the designated election official shall mail to each active registered elector”. If the legislature’s intent was to prohibit mailing to inactive voters the language would specify that. Bill drafters are not idiots. They would have brought this issue to the attention of the bill sponsor.  

      1. counties must provide polling places in every block, for counties that aren’t conducting all-mail ballot elections, but if a county wanted to do that, it could, and it wouldn’t be infringing on the rights of voters in counties that just have vote centers, or more rural counties counties where voters have to drive 20 minutes to a polling place. There is a lot left to the discretion of clerks.

      2. When the law was written, each county had its own vatoer data base and the various voter databases would not talk to one another. So there was a concern about tracking people as they moved and potentially allowinf them to vote twice.

        Now that we have a single statwide voter database, that concern has been removed. So the law which requires voters to be marked inactive if they miss a general election is not longer needed.

  3. First of all, if these “soldiers” cared so much about local elections, they would be in Pueblo now, not Irak. Why don’t they vote in the Iraky elections instead? At least there they get a purple finger, not a stupid tax increase.

    My parents FOUGHT and DIED for the right to dodge the draft so they could vote in statewide elections without having to wait for overseas mail. Who says “troops” should get coddled just because it’s kind of hot and sandy? They’ll probably just get sand all over the ballots anyway, messing up the machines for decent AMERICAN Republican voters.

        1. He may see this and come back with some obnoxious comment like “Missed me?”

          Good riddance to that one, and may we never have cause to type his name again.

    1. given all the questionable but maybe not  illegal moves he’s made already, he may very well step over the line, commit a crime and have to resign.  Or maybe his finances will get to a state where he has to resign to “spend time with his family” meaning “get a high paying job in the private sector”. The possibilities abound.

  4. I apologize for not voting in 2010, I was deployed to a remote area of Afghanistan.  I didn’t mind the IED’s and bad food.  I got tired of the sand and the local bs, but I volunteered to serve and I’m not complaining.

    I also forgot to request a 2011 ballot because thouhg I was home and though I would just vote here, I was  deployed short notice.  I understand COlorado is considering raising taxes and TABOR requires that it be put to a vote of the people.  Please remember that I am the people, and my vote should count just as much as my loud mouth fat*ssed neighbor who never mows his lawn or scoops the mess from his many obnoxious dogs.  Except he’s there so he gets to vote (and canvass and tell the rest of the neighbors what to do) and because I’m here, I don’t.

    Ps – the weather is here, I wish you were great.

    Oh, wait- the weather is great, and I wish you were here.

  5. I didn’t know where to start with the fifty replies, so I started fresh on purpose.

    The naivete is unbelievable and not accidental I think. The idea that the Secretary of State is instantly notified every time some renter changes apartments is absurd. Of course there are all kinds of voters marked inactive, but I will bet any of you money that at this moment some of them are dead, some of them have moved. Heck, some of them are moving today.

    You say the Secretary of State should err on the side of “access,” when it’s also erring on the side of ballot fraud. I say Gessler should err on the side of integrity and uniformity, and that’s what he is doing.

    1. The same is true of active voters, the only distinction being who voted in 2010 and who didn’t. As you know, a lot fewer Coloradans voted that year than in 2008. Inactive voters didn’t vote in the last general election — that’s the only difference between them and the active voters you seem to have no problem sending mail ballots. The same safeguards are in place to flag those who’ve moved or died for both sets of voters.

      Do you have any examples of “ballot fraud,” other than that elderly Republican who kept voting after he moved and was charged with a crime recently? Or do you just really miss ACORN?

    2. erring on the side of access is NOT erring on the side of fraud and you are either ‘dumber than a box of rocks,’ intentionally deceptive, or both in comparing the two (I have my decision–can we vote?)

      So, you are basically saying that not presuming a crime/fraud has been committed is erring on the side of committing that crime/fraud?

      Thus, me presuming that you do not beat your significant other (short of evidence to that fact) is really me,  ‘erring on the side of domestic abuse’?

      Certainly you have done nothing to indicate to me that I owe you that presumption after all, and–unlike the non-existent voter fraud of which you get your panties wadded up over–we can agree that domestic abuse is both real and not uncommon.

      Oh, but our fine system–the ones that men and women are deployed, we like to say, to defend but whom cannot now not even vote because Mr. Gessler has a hard on for a non-existent problem (that will have the added benefit, from the point of view of a corrupt partisan hack of discouraging votes for opponents)–isn’t suppose to start with the presumption of guilt, is it?  You did learn something along the way before you took on the task of merely parroting back boilerplate party talking points?  We presume people are innocent, even when accused of serious crimes, not merely when trying to exercise their fundamental right.

      Your position, and that of SoS Gessler is despicable and unAmerican.    


      1. Just the ones who might have moved or died or whose bunk mates are prone to fraudulent voting.

        Because that’s really what he’s saying here — sending ballots to soldiers who didn’t vote in 2010, but are otherwise registered voters same as all the other registered voters, raises the risk that other soldiers deployed overseas are going to vote for Prop 103, or against a Pueblo School Board candidate, or something.

    3. Just not willing to accept made up “facts”.  First, so far Gessler hasn’t produced evidence of a single case of the kind of fraud he claims to be of such concern that interfering with our soldiers’ right to vote is justified. In fact:  

      The last case of election fraud in Denver that was actually prosecuted occurred in 2005 and involved a single voter, according to Amber McReynolds, Director of Elections for Denver

      Second, the only difference between the voters he wants to jump through hoops and the ones who apparently aren’t so dangerous is that the former didn’t vote in 2010. Lots of people who voted in 2008 didn’t vote in 2010.  Lots of people only vote in presidential years.  It’s common as dirt.  We’re not talking about people nobody’s heard from for decades.  

      It’s not a naive to believe that making it hard to impossible (for some of the soldiers in question) for legitimate voters to vote in order to guard against something so extremely rare as voter fraud is wrong.  The documented facts and records are irrefutable; voter fraud is simply nowhere close to being a pervasive enough problem to require draconian remedies, including disenfranchising our soldiers. In fact it is very, very rare.

      So much for concern over fraud.  We’ve already established there is no cause for concern over expense and all citizens are guaranteed the right to vote even though elections cost money. I don’t think we are the ones who are naive in not buying those flimsy explanations from an SOS who has no evidence of fraud and is so willing to spend money on suits when far more likely explanations are available.  

    4. If it’s a problem needing addressing, then it has to be something that can be SHOWN to be happening.

      Free societies don’t pass laws against what might be imaginable, only against what’s happening.

      No fraud is happening, or else you could cite the instances where it has. You can’t, because it hasn’t. (OR… maybe they’re just so clever that they can’t be detected BUT YOU KNOW IT’S HAPPENING OMG!)

      We’re not naive. We smell a big fucking rat, and you seem to be one of the turds he’s leaving behind.

    5. Earlier this year he went on a rampage demanding we pass laws requiring a photo ID before a citizen could vote because he asserted illegal aliens have been voting in Colorado.  He said at least 11,000 illegals were committing voter fraud by voting and then he changed it to 5,000 and finally to a paltry 106. He has never, not once, turned over the names of the allegedly fraudulent voters to the Colorado Attorney General or local district attorney for prosecution.

      Now he asserts he is interpreting the statutes to prohibit inactive voters from receiving mail in ballots because there is a high incidence of fraudulent voting in Denver by inactive voters who vote by mail in ballot. And yet, the Denver DA investigated the 200 cases turned over to him after the last election and found no fraudulent voters and Mr. Gessler was aware of this.

      I usually don’t use this kind of language but it is time Secretary of State Gessler is given the appropriate title to describe his behavior and attendant statements. Plain and simple, he is a liar.    

      1. In theory Republican voters are more likely to be mobile due to their inherent wealth (generated either by the Will of God or their natural intellectual superiority), so they’re more likely to have moved than Democratic voters and therefore we should make them prove that they really want to vote in this election.

        Or something like that.

    6. Most members of the military (even the African American ones–you ever heard of Colin Powell, Arap?) are conservative.  My son is in the Army and takes a lot of flack because he is descended from a long, long line of liberals.

      Gessler, the dodo (and his extinction from political life cannot happen soon enough), is likely trying to disenfranchise conservatives.

      If you only had a brain.

  6. Attempting to change the word “shall” to “must only” is playing with potential gray area, but this? This is just BLATANTLY WRONG!

    Forget how you FEEL about what Gessler is doing. Forget about his party affiliation and read the section that’s causing this fustercluck…

    From the Colorado Revised Statutes:

    (3) (a) (I) Not sooner than twenty-two days before an election, and no later than eighteen days before an election, except as provided in subparagraph (II) of this paragraph (a), the designated election official shall mail to each active registered elector, at the last mailing address appearing in the registration records and in accordance with United States postal service regulations, a mail ballot packet, which shall be marked “DO NOT FORWARD. ADDRESS CORRECTION REQUESTED.”, or any other similar statement that is in accordance with United States postal service regulations. Nothing in this subsection (3) shall affect any provision of this code governing the delivery of mail ballots to an absent uniformed services elector, nonresident overseas elector, or resident overseas elector covered by the federal “Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act”, 42 U.S.C. sec. 1973ff et seq.

    That last sentence seems REALLY important in this case doesn’t it?

    1. only cover federal elections i.e. those in even-numbered years?  Just wondering.

      What I’d really like to see, however, are some state legislators speaking up about what they believe to be the intent of the state law.  And how about a few Republicans stepping forward in opposition to any voter suppression efforts.

      Here’s a good exercise for Pols readers:  Call you county clerk and recorder’s office in the county where you reside, and ask them for numbers – specifically ask how many voters in your county were labeled as “inactive” earlier this year solely due to the fact that they failed to vote in November 2010.  Many thousands in my county – and I live in a fairly small county.  And I wonder if the county clerks can tell us what the breakout is by political party of these newly-labeled inactive voters.  I’m thinking that by late October there are going to be more than a few angry Republicans wondering where their ballot is.

        1. In general, Federal election law only covers Federal elections.  The paragraph may simply be in there to cover even-year elections.  On the other hand, being that this (the UOCAVA) is an act protecting the rights of Federalized troops, it might reach in to local election law…

    1. “. . . is considering mailing ballots to the county’s 63 inactive military voters.”  If Gessler’s primary motivation for suing Denver is to ensure uniformity around the state, then he might end up being rather busy filing additional suits.  

      1. the concept of uniformity around the state is bogus anyway.  County voting procedures already vary regarding vote centers, precinct-level voting, and no doubt in many other ways.  Gessler’s actions are one more example of how Republicans believe in local control except when they don’t.

      2. She doesn’t know exactly what she’s going to do just yet–and won’t until she meets with the County Attorney on Monday.

        In the meantime, she’s doing everything she needs to do in preparation for mailing–correcting last known residence addresses, etc. so that the proper ballot style can be sent.  There was a change to the State statute last year that changed the way voters were tracked in SCORE.  Prior to the change, many overseas military were assigned to a “Federal” precinct with the address of the Denver Federal Center.

        As the Clerk explained in an email to me yesterday,

        These changes in law changed the way we keep UOCAVA voters in the SCORE system.  It used to be that a voter who had a last their last known address in Mesa County but who resides outside the state was only eligible for federal races.  Now, if they are residing outside the United States and their last known address was in Mesa County, they get a full ballot.

        The technical clean up in the database requires us to move voters who used to belong to a federal precinct back into their last precinct of record with our county.  It is a change of address essentially for some of them.  We concentrated on the active group first and got them all up to date for the initial UOCAVA mailing sent on September 16, 2011.

        What we are doing now is working through the inactive failed to vote list of UOCAVA voters and determining which ones need moved back to their last known address so that group is cleaned up as well.  There are now 63 of them.  We’ve had a few of the 69 previously reported to you drop off the list or activate.


        Not only did they contact overseas military by postcard as required, they also did an email in August to anyone they had an email for.  That got 28 more overseas military to request ballots as a result of the email.

        As usual, Ashby was late to the party.

  7. Where the hell are the law students from DU and CU filing suits on behalf of deployed soldiers?  Legal opinions are not enough.  There should be an injunction against Gessler’s

    directives. NOW.

      1. Bennet, Udall and others need to speak up. Rs should care as well but I have grown to expect little fruitful from any of our Rs in Congress.

    1. The State District Court is going to hear this case on Friday (I plan to attend).

      I suspect the DOJ, Congress, and every other reasonable person in the country, are expecting the judge there to smack down Gessler pretty resoundly. Therefore there is not really a need for further suits to be filed.

      As for the political outrage: That is best served when Gessler is up for election (either in a recall or for re-election)

  8. I got an blast email from some Democratic party official in Colorado about Gessler and the ballots.  Was it a call to action?  No, it was a plea for money, using Gessler’s action as the excuse.  That really made me mad.  They can buy their own damm coffee.

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