Election-Day Registration Means “Voter Fraud?” Prove It

Excellent story today from the Durango Herald's Joe Hanel on the introduction of the comprehensive election modernization bill from Democrats, set to be introduced this week in the Colorado Senate:

Even before it has been introduced, the bill has touched off a partisan fight.

But La Plata County Clerk Tiffany Lee Parker, a Republican, supports the bill and says it’s not a partisan issue.

“To me, this is really bipartisan. This makes sense. This is not Republican versus Democrat,” Parker said. [Pols emphasis]

La Plata County's Republican Clerk Tiffany Parker is not alone in supporting this bill from the right as a practical measure to make it easier to vote in Colorado. As Hanel reports, much of the bill was initiated by the Colorado County Clerks Association, and much of the bill is very much uncontroversial–with the exception of legislative Republicans and Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler.

The divide between Gessler and the county clerks, who have never enjoyed particularly good relations, seems wider now than ever before as this bill comes up for debate. As we noted yesterday, Gessler is upset that he was not consulted though the county clerks were–in the Colorado Statesman story we cited:

“How the hell can they rewrite the state election code in such as way that it excludes half of the entire legislature, the people who have expertise from a secretary of state’s standpoint?” he asked. “These people are just crazy. They have no interest in creating a good system. They are interested in shoving through an agenda.”

The truth is, Secretary of State Gessler has not been considered an honest player in Colorado's election system for quite a while–and this is a feeling held by county clerks on both sides of the aisle. It's important to remember that in the last two years, Gessler has done more to menace Colorado elections than constructively work to improve them. At some point, unproductive viewpoints just don't help the process, and they get excluded.

The biggest bone of contention in the bill, by far, is the provision allowing voters to register all the way through Election Day. In much the same manner as the recent gun safety legislation debate, Republicans insist that this would have disastrous consequences–instead of "banning gun ownership," the story this time, as Hanel continues:

Same-day registration opens the door to voter fraud, said Colorado Republican Committee Chairman Ryan Call.

“This is nothing more than a partisan power-grab by Democrats, taken at the expense of integrity in our elections,” Call said in a news release. “The last thing Coloradans want is the legitimacy of our elections cast into doubt because of the serious potential for voter fraud.”

And much like the gun debate, your next reasonable question is, "what's your evidence for that?" 

Stats of same-day registration by state, 2012.

Stats of same-day registration by state, 2012.

This is probably where the rational argument will end, because as with the gun debate, there is no evidence to support the charge being made. Colorado is not the first state to propose allowing registration up through Election Day, just as we weren't the first state to limit magazines or require background checks. Eleven other states and the District of Columbia, including our neighbors Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana all have this law on the books.

And folks, did you hear about voter fraud scandals in Wyoming last year? Uh, no.

However, in Wyoming in 2012, according to preliminary data (see chart right) some 28,000 voters–11% of the vote in that state–used Election Day registration. And that's on the low side compared to a number of other states.

Is GOP Chairman Ryan Call alleging these were fraudulent votes in Wyoming last year? Or for that matter, any of these states? Half a million votes in Minnesota? That would be one hell of a scandal, wouldn't it?

Bottom line: the principal argument against the most "controversial" provision in this bill, that allowing registration to vote up through Election Day would have "serious potential for voter fraud," is not backed up by the facts–proven now that it has been successfully implemented in other states. What this bill will do, based on experience in other states, is significantly increase voter turnout

When you cut through the bluster from opponents with these facts, you begin to understand that increasing voter turnout, this goal you would think every American would hold sacrosanct, is what they really oppose.

We have to believe that if reporters ask honest questions, this is going to become painfully obvious.

13 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DavidThi808 says:

    Whatever happened to those list of fradulent voters that Gessler kept talking about. Did he ever prove even one of them? If not, then why does anyone give him any creedence?

    • cholera doob server says:

      It is better and more satisfactory to deny a thousand citizens the vote than to let a single non-citizen cast a ballot. Or zero non-citizens. Whatever's clever.

  2. Tom says:

    Registering at the polls is probably a better idea than the current system simply because poll workers are trained and supervised. Most false registrations have come from partisan registration drives or greedy workers being paid for high numbers. This eliminates that problem

  3. notaskinnycook says:

    It is becoming increasingly clear that the best way to fight back agaist Republican attemts to discourage and suppress votes is ridicule. There's no defense against it. Here, watch: What are they afraid of? They must believe that if everyone who is elegible votes they'll lose.                                                                                     See how well that works?


  4. davebarnes says:

    The data speak for themselves.

    1. Given that SDR is a Dimmie plot to take control.

    2. Given that SDR voters made up 18% of Idaho voters.

    This means that Idaho is going to turn blue!

  5. ArapaGOP says:

    It's funny that Colorado Pols never mentioned Wisconsin…


    Initially, the investigators were given the task to respond to the reported violations of the State of Wisconsin Election Laws by any entities or persons involved in the 2004 General Election. However, as the investigation began, numerous inconsistencies in the official records of the City of Milwaukee Election Commission became evident. The reports of more ballots cast than voters recorded were found to be true. The Election Commission conducted three separate counts of voters, which resulted in three different findings, none of which matched the final official ballot count reported to the Wisconsin State Elections Board.

    The investigators discovered that within the official records of the Election Commission individuals are recorded as having cast multiple ballots during the 2004 General Election. The possibility of “double votes” existed at the local level; between adjacent communities; and with a bordering state. We also note that by relying on the Milwaukee Election Commission records to arrive at this conclusion, “reasonable doubt” is an unfortunate factor. However, because of the flawed registration system in Wisconsin, “double voting” remains a strong possibility.

    Due to On-Site Registration, there is no real time filter employed to determine if an individual has cast more than one ballot in any particular election. The violation, if discovered, would only occur after the ballots have been cast. The damage would have already been done.

    During this Election, the investigators discovered that a person in the City of Milwaukee could register and vote under variations of their given name.

    This does open the door to fraud, and fraud has already occurred. Wake up, people! The Democrats want a permanent majority and this is how they want to get it.

  6. MADCO says:

    OMG!, Really. Pols!???

    You appear to have totally missed the point. You must be trying to miss the point.

    1.5 million voters in other states may not have committed voter fraud.  BUT – Colorado voters are different.  C'mon – seriously, we all know this.


  7. GalapagoLarry says:

    Wait. "…serious potential for voter fraud… "???  I thought we already had voter fraud. Buckets and buckets of it. Ferreted out by our crackerjack Repub SOS, even. What gives?

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