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November 18, 2013 02:04 PM UTC

Credibility In Ashes: Zero Prosecutions Of The "Gessler 155"

  • by: Colorado Pols
Scott Gessler.
Scott Gessler.

The Grand Junction Sentinel's Charles Ashby published a story this weekend that, in a perfect world, would mean the end of higher political aspirations by Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler.

Since taking over the Secretary of State’s Office in 2011, Scott Gessler has loudly and repeatedly claimed that non-citizens were illegally voting in Colorado elections.

The Republican, who has long called for a new law requiring people to show proof of citizenship before voting, made national news when he went before Congress that year making a blockbuster statement that 16,270 non-citizens were registered to vote in Colorado and 5,000 of them actually had cast ballots in the 2010 state elections, when Democrat Michael Bennet narrowly defeated Republican Ken Buck for the U.S. Senate…

After years of critics demanding that Gessler forward names of suspected non-citizens whom he said were on the voter rolls, his office referred a list of 155 suspected non-citizen voters in July to 15 district attorneys across the state, recommending prosecution and issuing a strongly worded statement saying the list was proof the state’s election system is “vulnerable.”

A check by The Daily Sentinel with those district attorneys over the past two weeks, however, revealed that none of the referrals led to criminal prosecutions, though some still are under investigation. The analysis also showed that although some of the non-citizen voters did cast ballots in at least one election going as far back as 2004, the preponderance of the other voters actually were citizens who legally had the right to vote.

Gessler's quest to uncover evidence of "noncitizen voters" has consumed a tremendous amount of his and his staff's time since taking office in 2011. In April of 2011, Gessler testified before a congressional committee, claiming his "studies" had "found" that some 5,000 noncitizens had voted in Colorado in the 2010 elections. That number was quickly debunked by showing that over 30,000 Colorado residents had become citizens during the time period Gessler examined, easily accounting for his alarming figure. In 2012, Gessler sent letters to 4,000 voters he "suspected" of voting illegally. Westword reported that round of letters resulted in the cancellation of 88 registrations, few if any of which had ever actually voted. Most such errors were attributed to simple misunderstandings and errors made by clerks.

In Ashby's story this weekend, we read about a few more such anecdotal cases–a Pueblo County voter from Belgium who voted in 2006 as one example, who cancelled her registration after realizing she couldn't vote. Not only did the local district attorney find no intent to commit fraud, the statute of limitations was years expired. Of the 155 cases Gessler recommended for prosecution, a few cases remain under investigation, but there have been no prosecutions. We'll know in the next few weeks if any result.

Regardless of how those few remaining "cases" end up, you can't excuse the present state of this "investigation"–complete failure, a totally unjustified return on Gessler's investment of manpower and time–after the breathless and shocking claims Gessler originally made. Gessler originally asserted, without any "maybe," that 5,000 noncitizens voted in 2010. When you compare the things that Gessler said right after taking office with the reality three years later of zero prosecutions, it is obvious that Gessler simply has no credibility.

How this man retains any viability for another run at political office is truly baffling to us.


26 thoughts on “Credibility In Ashes: Zero Prosecutions Of The “Gessler 155”

  1. As your citation mentions, some cases are still under investigation.

    Ipso Facto, your claim that Gessler's credibility is in tatters is premature.

    Res Ipsa Loquitor, etc…

  2. "The analysis also showed that although some of the non-citizen voters did cast ballots in at least one election going as far back as 2004"

    And that somehow makes Gessler's credbility fall to ashes?  I think you are obsession with the man is once again rearing its ugly head.  Just be patient.  Odds are he'll be the GOP candidate and you can have months making unfounded statements about him at that point. 

    1. Pretty much, yeah.

      Gessler may have captured a single-digit vote fraud problem in an attempt to make voting difficult nationally for millions, by claiming he'd found thousands of fradulent votes in his own state.

      And what's the real problem? Apparently, it boils down to a couple of instances where the required checks failed to catch a mistaken or actual false registration at the clerk's office or by his own office before voting took place. Or, in the case of the few instances we've actually seen documented, a couple of Republican voters voting in two districts in one election. In zero of these cases would photo ID have helped.

      Gessler's a tool of a witch hunt harming many in search of a vanishingly small few, to apply a cure that wouldn't even affect those few cases.

    2. Oh, I don't think we'll have to resort to unfounded statements. The man's a mass of contradictions, and the political ads will write themselves:

      • professional responsibilities to be unbiased vs. partisan statements,
      • the quixotic noncitizen voter quest,
      • the 900 people who registered online , but were declared inactive,
      • his attempt to purge the voter rolls of 900,000 "inactive" voters in 2012,
      • his questionable and unethical spending,
      • his getting an award for the snazzy SOS website and high voter turnout in 2012, and his opposition to HB1303, the Voter access and Modernized Elections Act, which was responsible for the high voter turnout, if not the snazzy website.
      • In addition, he should recuse himself as secretary of state in supervising the primary election, possibly general election, for which he himself will be a candidate. This is an obvious conflict of interest. I think that there is actually a rule about it, although I haven't found it yet.



    3. Any way you spin it, his claims were ridiculously inflated and clearly the numbers involved don't rise to the level of being a top priority, hair on fire, excuse for draconian measures problem so, yes, his credibility is pretty shot as is the credibility of the entire GOTP everywhere they have passed or are pushing to pass draconian measures that make it much more difficult for millions nationwide who have every right to vote to do so. 

      Republican pols are constantly 'slipping" by crowing over how these various measures will help them to win by reducing the vote. You really have to shut those eyes tight, plug  those ears thoroughly and sing loudly to miss all the righties bragging about helping Rs win by passing these measures.

      I respect the blatant voter suppressing GOTP pols who are transparent about their scumbag motives a lot more than I can respect their pathetic apologists. 

    4. I hate tI admit it, Elliot, but you're probably mostly right here . . .

      . . . I mean, after all, Gessler is an attorney, so it's not like he had hardly any credibility to begin with . . . 

    5. If they don't attack now, there's a chance that their attacks on Gessler will be proven wrong. They can't afford to wait for the facts, character assassination calls!

        1. The fact remains, nobody knew the extent of the problem until Gessler looked into it. He hasn't tried to hide the results. I thank Gessler for his diligence.

          1. Three other things, just off the top of my head, that I'm pretty sure no one yet knows the full extent of:

            1.  the extent to which unicorns have crossbred into the White River Elk herd, altering their native genetic makeup . . . 2.  the full extent of the zombie incursion and takeover of Mesa County school boards and PTAs . . . 3.  the full extent to which you'll stoop to try to justify Gessler's innumerable misdeeds . . . 

            Scotty Diligent to the rescue???!!???

          2. Buescher knew. During the campaign I heard him say that if there was any fraud it was minimal and did not influence elections. He said Gessler was creating fear to manipulate the voters

          3. Wrong. Everyone, especially the county clerks, knew that it was nothing approaching the neighborhood of even a minimally serious problem. Gessler's ''looking into it" simply confirmed what was perfectly obvious in the first place and many thousands of dollars earlier. This is strictly about suppressing Dem leaning demos in elections and it's pretty funny how, on the rare occasions they manage to find a single concrete thing to point to, it's a fraudulent R voter. 

            He has yet to find a single case where fraudulent voting made the difference in any election but we know for damn sure why Morse lost his very close election. Hint. Not through voter fraud.

            Gessler's a goniff. Look it up

  3. "How this man retains any viability for another run at political office is truly baffling to us."
    OK. Now you just demonstrated your idiocy.
    Scotty is running the Republican primary. Republican voters will think he is doing a great job in bringing attention to the problem of illegals voting as they know that it goes on all the time.

  4. Colorado Pols wrote: “How this man retains any viability for another run at political office is truly baffling to us.”

    There are a certain number of Republicans who are convinced that  voter fraud is rampant and swaying elections–no amount of empirical evidence will convince them otherwise. Every time Gessler makes accusations of voter fraud, these true believers rally behind him and come to his defense. I doubt there are enough true-believers to put Gessler into higher office but I've been wrong before, so who knows?    

    1. and, in 20 years, ehen they get to rewrite the textbooks (they hope) it will become common knowledge that Obama wa NOT a citizen and that he only won by the manipulation of voters and letting no citizens vote. At the same time the texts will reflect that Bush saved us all by going to Iraq tax free

  5. Voter fraud is nothing more than a dog whistle for his base…Gessler is as corrupt as a pol can get…Koch money is and will be flowing before too long…It is about the money…not about governing…I don't think there is a more dishonest person in Colorado than Gessler…oh wait…Tancredo? maybe not dishonest, but certainly nuts…

    1. Western slope Republican legislators have always know that if you get anointed by the Central Committee, your financial worries are over….

      the same POV that lets O&G buy them off so readily.

    1. Harley, not "wasted". Spent in the honorable pursuit of fair elections by eliminating massive voter fraud by those who are not even white, I mean citizens 

      1. Frankly, I don't think the tax dollars were wasted.  We finally have empirical evidence that there is no such thing as rampant voter fraud by illegal aliens.  Now when they raise that argument, all we have to do is say "Where's the beef?" and waive around a copy of Gessler's report.  I kind of like that a true believer proved that what they've been saying for years is a lie.  Kind of fun.

        1. You are so right!  Perhaps the money wasn't really wasted as it made the point that there is very little, (if any) voter fraud.  But unfortunately for Gessler–he made the point which disproved his own claim.

          Now how sweet is that?

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