More Counties Thumb Nose At Gessler

UPDATE: Add Conejos, but more importantly Eagle County to the list–just in from sources.


As the Pueblo Chieftain’s Peter Roper reports:

Boulder and Pitkin counties have reversed course and will send election ballots to inactive voters this month, the Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s office confirmed Monday.

That turnaround comes only two days after a Denver district judge refused to block Denver and Pueblo counties from doing so.

Boulder will send ballots to about 24,000 inactive voters, while Pitkin will send out about 2,500 ballots.

Mesa County officials also notified Gessler on Monday that they will send ballots to their inactive military and overseas voters only, but not to inactive voters within their county…

[The judge’s] decision tossed into the air Gessler’s earlier advisory to the 58 other counties conducting mail ballots elections in November not to send ballots to inactive voters.  Following Whitney’s ruling, Gessler said that any county intending to join with Denver and Pueblo counties in sending ballots to inactive voters must notify his office Monday – despite the Columbus Day holiday. [Pols emphasis]

Considering that many Colorado counties (but not all) were closed for business yesterday, we think it will be awfully hard for Gessler to enforce that order. And it might not matter: we’ve just learned that Costilla and Huerfano counties will deliver to inactives in addition to Pueblo, Boulder and Pitkin–even though the Chieftain reported that only those three counties’ revised plans, and Mesa County’s delivery to deployed military voters, made it to Gessler’s office by his “deadline.” It seems to us that at a certain level, Gessler doesn’t have control over the U.S. Mail–and isn’t going to win a fight to throw out valid votes that result from ballots mailed to inactives.

Is this what happens when you overstep your authority one too many times?

33 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Ah Choo says:

    Rollie should make sure to send a thank you card to Gessler.

  2. ArapaGOP says:

    Gessler is still the state’s chief elections official. The rules he makes and directives he lays down need to be respected. Pols and other liberals should be very careful about not inciting conflict between the counties and the state.

  3. BlueCat says:

    Gessler’s blatant partisan over-reaching is resulting in more inactive voters receiving ballots in more counties this time around and could lead to legislation that could mandate ballots be mailed out to all eligible voters for whom mail ballots have not been returned as undeliverable in the past. Everyone will be watching him like a hawk going into the 2012 elections.  

    Not only that but every time a new county clerk decides to follow suit that extends the life span of the story  I’m sure that, besides local media, Rachel Maddow will keep us all up-dated and it will be discussed on other cable shows as well.  

    From the moment he started whining about the money, Gessler has been a one man PR disaster for himself and for his party.

  4. JeffcoBlue says:

    I live in a big county. Very glad to see this.

    Protect voting rights in Jefferson County

    Last Friday, voters in Denver and Pueblo won a significant first victory in the fight to protect their rights from Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s “inactive” vote suppression scheme. A district judge ruled that Gessler could not stop counties from mailing ballots to all registered voters, even if they missed the 2010 elections.

    Why isn’t Jefferson County doing the same? Click here to ask Jefferson County Clerk Pam Anderson to follow the lead of other counties in our state, and provide mail ballots to every registered voter in Jefferson County with a deliverable address.

    Since Friday’s ruling against Gessler, Boulder County and Pitkin County have announced that they will join Denver and Pueblo in sending ballots to so-called “inactive failed to vote” voters. (Pueblo Chieftain, 10/10/2011) In addition, Mesa County’s Republican Clerk Sheila Reiner announced that her office would send ballots to deployed military who are registered to vote. According to the Pueblo County attorney and members of Congress who have requested an investigation by the Justice Department, federal law requires ballots be sent to deployed military regardless of their “active” or “inactive” status.

    As one of Colorado’s most populous counties, shouldn’t Jefferson County voters should be given the same opportunity to participate as Denver voters? If Pueblo and Mesa County have an obligation to send mail ballots to members of our military overseas, doesn’t every county in Colorado have the same obligation? Jefferson County Clerk Anderson has worked to increase voter participation in the past, so with this ruling, she can take advantage of legal clarity and provide ballots to these registered voters.

    Please click here to send a respectful but firm message right now to Jefferson County Clerk Pam Anderson: tell her that protecting the right to vote is worth any time and expense it takes.

    Thank you. Working together, we stopped Gessler’s scheme to prevent the delivery of tens of thousands of ballots to registered Denver voters. Now let’s make sure that everyone in Colorado gets treated equally–like Scott Gessler says he wants.


  5. DavidThi808 says:

    Military voters are more worthy than civilian voters?

    • Ralphie says:

      But shut your mouth.  I’ve seen maps.  The disenfranchised voters would likely vote against 103, which you support (and I oppose).

    • Dan Willis says:

      The Clerk in Mesa cited cost as a concern for mailing ballots to the FTV voters. It is a valid concern in these cash-strapped times. Since it is up to the Clerk’s discretion whether to mail ballots to FTV, they do need to take that into consideration.

      The overseas voters cannot go to a voter service center to vote, the ones in town can (of they physically can’t they can easily request a mail balot via the web or by mail). So if there is a budgetary issues, I can see making that distinction.

      Personally, if I were Clerk and holding an all-mail election, I would go to whatever extent I was allowed to get ballots to all of the eligible voters.

      • DavidThi808 says:

        But I still dislike differentiating between categories of voters.

        • Dan Willis says:

          But that is an issue that the legislature needs to fix.

        • BlueCat says:

          but I wonder how much more expensive going back to precinct polling place elections would be in lieu of “all” mail in elections which still involve drop offs and may involve voting centers.

          Elections cost what they cost and nobody ever proposed closing precinct polling places in precincts with low turnout on the grounds that the number of voters weren’t worth the expense back when that was the way all elections were conducted.  

          As far as that goes, only about half of eligible voters vote much of time across the country, but we still have to meet the expense of allowing all of them easy access. Seems like a red herring.

          • bud says:

            of these ballots. Four percent is a lot in an election.

          • The realist says:

            mail to inactive FTV voters.  People need to be reminded that VOTERS didn’t decide to make this an all-mail-in-ballot election — county clerks decided that.  VOTERS should not have to pay a penalty for the decision by having a harder time voting.

            • Alexei says:

              But Clerks have been under the mistaken impression, bolstered by the SoS, that they could not send ballots to inactive voters.

              Finding out only now that they can is well after they budgeted and been authorized for the funds to spend in this election. I think we will see a lot more Clerks budgeting for those ballots to the inactives in future elections.

              Of course the legislature could change the definition of inactive so that it does not include the people who simply failed to vote, but are otherwise perfectly fine to vote in the current precincts. That would alleviate the problem altogether.

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