There’s A Little “Honey Badger” In Wayne Williams After All

Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

The Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports on new election rules proposed by Secretary of State Wayne Williams.During the tenure of Williams’ predecessor, Scott “Honey Badger” Gessler, new rulemaking on elections was a reliably fraught exercise–Gessler made little pretense about proposing rules that would benefit his fellow Republicans, and nothing short of a court order was ever able to slow him down.

Ashby reports on one particular Williams proposed rule that has a distinctly “Honey Badger” ring to it:

The proposed rule calls for county clerks to include a new line on the envelopes voters use to return their mail ballots, one that would ask for the name and address of any person collecting them to be turned in.

Normal get-out-the-vote efforts for candidates routinely contact voters who haven’t yet turned in their ballots, asking them to do so. In some cases, those campaign volunteers will offer to take them in if a voter is physically incapable of doing so.

Some critics of that practice say it opens the door to potential election fraud, saying such volunteers could turn in only those ballots that help their candidate…

By way of explanation. Scott Gessler did adopt a similar rule last year to this proposal. The rule was stripped from the enabling legislation in the General Assembly because there were major legal questions as to whether this was something the SOS could enforce, so the rule never went into effect. And like so many hand-wringing hypothetical ways Republicans imagine elections could be compromised, there’s no evidence this has ever, you know, happened:

During last year’s U.S. Senate race, there were allegations that some people were doing that, but no evidence ever surfaced that it was actually happening, said Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert.

Regardless, Staiert said it makes sense to have some sort of mechanism in place to guard against it, just in case. [Pols emphasis]

Republican Mesa County Clerk Sheila Reiner, a frequent impediment to Gessler’s various election “reform” proposals with her pesky reality-based viewpoint, calls this a ridiculous waste of time:

Reiner said the proposed rule could place unnecessary costs on county clerks, all for something that isn’t happening anyway.

“It could cause some confusion for sure,” she said. “I don’t know what the implications for costs are, but there will be some additional ink on the envelopes. And without a statute to back this up, to tell us we have actual authority to void a ballot on that criteria, we’re not going to look at it.”

With no evidence of an actual problem to be addressed, and no statutory authority to act upon whatever this proposal might reveal, the purpose of this seems clear: shenanigans. It would give “vote fraud watchdogs”–a euphemism for poll challengers and other election intimidation specialists–another tool to baselessly call election results into question.

As for Williams’ credibility on the issue of “election fraud,” we need look back no further than his hilarious interview with FOX News’ Megyn Kelly on the subject last fall, in which Williams’ ridiculous hypotheses about “union bosses” using mail ballots to intimidate voters fell so flat that not even Kelly could subsidize them.

Bottom line: Williams may have “Honey Badger” ambitions, but he’s no Scott Gessler. Expect this to be the first in a long line of stillborn bad ideas.

4 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    Megyn lost her credibility with me last fall when she claimed, on her show, that any Colorado voter could go online and print off a mail ballot. That privilege was/is reserved only for active duty military, as I understand, and Scott Gessler issued an immediate public rebuttal. But did Megyn apologize for misleading her viewers, and clarify things? Of course not.

  2. BlueCat says:

    Bottom line: We all know what this obsession with voter fraud is about since we all know that voter fraud is so close to nonexistent it has never been a problem and, of all the things that could possibly influence elections, is absolutely the least likely to ever affect a single one. More serious problems, such as campaigns to distribute false info to trick voters into going to the wrong location, missing election day altogether and attempts to intimidate voters by falsely warning them of non-existent consequences such as being hauled in for traffic tickets are far more likely to make a dent but no Republican expresses the slightest concern about any of these violations which are always directed against Dem leaning demos.

    Republicans know this is about trying to suppress the Dem leaning vote as well as everyone else does and frequently admit it by bragging about how draconian laws they passed helped to get some Republican elected. There is simply no legitimate cause for their obsessive focus on preventing voter fraud, something that they can't show has occurred more than a handful of times out of millions of votes over decades with no effect on election outcomes, far less effect than faulty voting machines or GOTP dirty trick misdirection nationwide or here in Colorado.

    There isn't the slightest possibility that this could really be a legitimate nonpartisan concern to any Republican SOS. Period.

  3. notaskinnycook says:

    I've said it before and I'll say it again. The best defense against their voter suppression tactics is neither anger nor frustration, but ridicule.They can't win an election without cheating e.g. making it harder to vote or have one's vote count: ID requirements, challenging voters at the polls, reducing polling places, disqualifying ballots because someone collected too many for his neighbors, it's cheating and that's what they have to do to win. That should be the answer to Honey Badger tactics, regardless of who employs them

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