9NEWS’ Brandon Rittiman:
Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler says 141 non-citizens are illegally registered to vote in Colorado but he’s backed off from a divisive plan to hold hearings to challenge their status before November.
Non-citizens are ineligible to vote. Gessler says 35 of those previously voted.
Rather than remove those people from voter rolls himself, Gessler’s office says it will transmit the names to county clerks, who are currently authorized to handle verification of voter eligibility.
The Fort Collins Coloradoan’s Patrick Malone:
Seven voters registered in Larimer County and three registered in Weld County are among 141 statewide whose citizenship Gessler’s office seeks to challenge…
The original list consisted of 3,903 registered voters. So far, Gessler has compared 1,416 names on the list to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security database. He found that one in 10 of the registered voters in question do not have legal U.S. citizenship, and 35 of them have voted in past elections…
To date, one registered noncitizen has voluntarily contacted [Larimer County Clerk] Doyle’s office to withdraw his voter registration.
“It was a guy with a work visa. He didn’t even know he was registered to vote,” Doyle said. “Somehow we think it was a clerical mistake at the Department of Motor Vehicles when he got his driver’s license.” [Pols emphasis]
AP’s Ivan Moreno via the Durango Herald:
“We confirmed our current voter registration has vulnerabilities,” Gessler said. He said there was not enough time to hold hearings challenging the citizenship of those 141 noncitizens before November.
Democratic attorney Martha Tierney said the number of noncitizens registered to vote that Gessler found shows that his search was a waste of time. Those 141 registered voters are .004 percent of the state’s nearly 3.5 million voters.
“I still don’t think that this is a wise use of resources,” she said.
First of all, this argument that there is insufficient time to hold hearings on these 141 voters that Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler has narrowed down from a dragnet of thousands, while likely true, is not what Gessler office has previously stated. Back when the true number of improperly registered noncitizen voters was unknown, his office was fully prepared to travel the state holding “emergency” hearings to determine these voters’ status.
So why isn’t that happening?
The answer is simple: after years of fearmongering and the endless, irresponsible tossing about of conjectural and unverified figures, the final results of Gessler’s obsessive quest to uncover what he has repeatedly warned are “thousands” of noncitizens casting ballots in Colorado elections are a total embarrassment.
It appears that Gessler has disregarded the thousands of letters he sent asking for verification–letters that it’s now known went in the overwhelming majority of cases to perfectly legal U.S. citizen voters, and with a partisan divide so lopsided that, intended or not, underscored Gessler’s partisan motivations unmistakably. Gessler is now only seeking to verify 141 voters provisionally flagged by a Homeland Security database–and of those, less than three dozen who may have actually voted. In those cases, Gessler is turning over the information to county clerks, who have existing challenge procedures to request verification, certifying or canceling as needed.
Bottom line: Scott Gessler has unintentionally done more to refute the right wing’s conspiracy theories of American elections under threat from armies of illegal voters than most Democrats. We believe that Gessler had honestly convinced himself of the truth of this partisan, race-baiting nonsense, and we have to think Gessler is very disappointed in these results.
Considering the many ways our elections could benefit from scrutiny, investment, and improvement, Gessler’s failed partisan witch hunt has wasted more than everyone’s valuable time. By obsessing quixotically over a problem that doesn’t exist, Gessler has distracted his office, and by extension the whole system, from other problems that do. And when you combine Gessler’s wrongheaded fixation on “illegal voters” with other actions, like slashing fines for like-minded political committees and the Larimer County Republicans, or repeated attempts to roll back campaign finance disclosure laws, a picture emerges of what may really be considered, objectively and without hyperbole, the worst Secretary of State in Colorado history.