In The Denver Post over the weekend, former State Senate President John Andrews wrote that if Colorado has election-day voter registration, as proposed in the election-modernization bill winding its way through the State Legislature, Democrats would "presto" have "tilted the electoral playing field permanently their way. Republican chances for regaining power and repealing any of this stuff will fade."
Presto? As in presto-change-o?
The "presto" part I get, because the new law would give people the opportunity to register to vote, presto, upon presenting themselves (and proper documents) at a polling center through Election Day. It would also give every voter the chance to, presto, vote with a mail-in ballot as well as the option of, presto, voting in person at vote centers.
I couldn't find any evidence that election-day voter registration would make the electoral playing field would go blue--or black with fraud.
So I was excited to hear about the evidence Andrews had to support his column.
"I have not done research on it," he told me.
I was crushed.
But that doesn't stop Andrews from saying: "Same-day registration is going to make the process of voting more emotion-driven and less reliably honest, and that favors Democrats."
"Democrats are a lot better at finding people who sign up on that basis [with same-day registration], and some may be legal voters and some might not be," Andrews said, adding that he doesn't mean to "demonize anyone" because "people have different opinions."
So, I asked Andrews, your view is based on your experience here in Colorado?
Yes, he said, along with his trust in Secretary of State Scott Gessler and former State Sen. Mark Hillman, who share Andrews' "alarm."
If you talk to Andrews repeatedly, as I have over the years, you know that he usually takes a conversation about a slice of public policy, like election-day registration, and broadens it to discussion about human motivations or political philosophy. It's fun, but sometimes it scares you.
In this case, Andrews said he doesn't think Colorado should go to "great lengths to turn everybody out to vote."
"People who demonstrate what economists call 'rational ignorance,' I don't want those people voting," he said.
"I'm a believer that voting should be more deliberative."
Democrats, he said, are more inclined to be "emotional" about a political campaign or "snowed by an ad campaign," while Republicans, he says are more "fact-based."
Thus he believes election-day registration favors Democrats, and my point that there no evidence to support his position didn't seem to bother Andrews at all.
Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler made the rounds on conservative talk radio last week to stir up opposition to expected legislation that would give us more options when it comes to voting, stuff like providing a mail-in ballot for every eligible voter.
Gessler wants to stop legislation that would, basically, make sure Colorado uses modern technology and election procedures to give people more ways to cast a ballot and to participate in our elections.
And even if everyone voted, what's wrong with giving people safe and easy voting choices? The bill in the State Legislature not only mandates the mail-in option, but also allows us to drop off our ballots at service centers and, if pushing buttons is your thing, to vote in person on election day or prior to it.
If you're a reporter, you're naturally inclined to pay attention to your Secretary of State when he or she warns that possible legislation could lead to "dramatic" vote fraud.
But if it's Colorado's Scott Gessler, we've all learned by now, journalists can relax. Just relax. No need to race to get it up on Twitter. No need to rush anywhere, because it's not news. He's lost his credibility way more than Chicken Little.
"I've heard a lot of radical stuff coming out of the Legislature. We'll see what actually happens.
"But one of the things that I've heard that they want to push is same day voter registration, where someone shows up on Election Day and registers immediately. And that creates all kinds of havoc in our systems, and it's not secure at all. We've seen, you know, real, real, dramatic vote fraud in other states, especially urban areas that have used that same voter registration. So, I'm afraid that they're going to push it nonetheless, and despite all our success in voter turnout, and despite our increased participation, I'm afraid that they're going to claim that things are terrible nonetheless, and use that as an excuse to push for something that really opens us up to vote fraud."
Gessler has hired a team of lawyers headed by high-profile defense attorney David Lane to represent him before the Ethics Commission and in the criminal case on the same matter launched by Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey.
Gessler's attorneys brought at least four motions to dismiss over two hours of back and forth at yesterday's hearing. Yet the facts under consideration have been a matter of public record for nearly four months and they were not contested yesterday by Gessler's attorneys.
Now, to use Republican logic, does that sound like someone who did nothing wrong?
In the final weeks of the campaign, as we reported earlier today, Secretary of State Scott Gessler has continued his controversial anti-fraud campaign by tracking down individuals he believes are illegally registered to vote, because they are immigrants. Gessler sent them letters to 300 people asking them to verify their citizenship -- and yesterday, we reached one legal citizen who got the letter and is not happy about it, in part because he himself has done advocacy work around voter participation.
Alan Kaplan, 35, has been a citizen since 2001. But since a database of the Department of Homeland Security has him listed as an immigrant, he is one of 441 registered voters in Colorado that Gessler's office believes are illegally registered and would therefore be committing fraud if they voted on November 6. The letters are part of a larger effort from Gessler's office to eliminate fraud, which includes crosschecks with a federal database that critics fear is unreliable.
Again, Sam only goes so far in his conclusions to the undeniable facts of the situation. It wasn't only "critics" who feared the database was unrealiable, it was the DHS itself that warned of problems with the data.
But Gessler continued on and, playing against type, decided to trust Obama's DHS and use the potentially invalid data to pursue his strategy of purging as many Democratic leaning voters from the rolls as possible.
Secretary of State Scott Gessler has a Republican agenda and is trying to prevent Latinos and new citizens from voting on election day. At least that's the charge from a group of left-leaning advocacy organizations working to get Hispanic voters to the polls in Colorado. Gessler's office, however, is pushing back against their criticisms, noting that his registration drive helped sign up more Democrats than Republicans.
But there was also a fair amount of dissent and anger surrounding the Republican Secretary of State, who has faced backlash in the months leading up to the election for his efforts to weed out illegal immigrant voters and prevent voter fraud.
The groups that regularly oppose Gessler often argue that his priorities are wrong and that he is spending too much time on a wild goose chase to find voter fraud, which they believe is very rare. Some say this concern is compounded by the fact that there is a certain level of incompetence and dysfunction in his office's basic elections operations.
(Some also say this is half-assed, "fair and balanced" reporting. - z)
Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper recently told us that he thinks Gessler may be intimidating voters, but that he probably means well and doesn't actually have partisan motives in his efforts.
Tower of Pudding Hickenlooper really takes a stand. Gessler is intimidating voters, and like his fellow Republican SoS in Ohio and Republican Fraudsters in Floridahe does not mean well and is highly partisan:
In an event that no reporter will want to miss, Secretary of State Scott Gessler is stumping tonight for State Senate candidate John Sampson, whom Denver Post Editorial Page Editor Curtis Hubbard recently called one of Colorado's top five birthers.
Not surprised. Another Republican, another Scott, another hypocrite:
Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) told his mistress to get an abortion for the sake of his marriage, despite his pro-life views, in a conversation obtained by the Huffington Post. Rep. DesJarlais, who supported the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" - a bill that included "forcible rape" language in one of its early drafts - demanded that his lover end her pregnancy, saying, "You told me you'd have an abortion, and now we're getting too far along without one."
First let me say plainly and clearly: Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler is corrupt. He meets all 4 primary definitions according to Merriam-Webster (both of whom must have been librul!)
cor·rup·tion noun kə-ˈrəp-shən\
Definition of CORRUPTION
a : impairment of integrity, virtue, or moral principle : depravity (Check!)
b : decay, decomposition ((Check!) c : inducement to wrong by improper or unlawful means (Check!) d : a departure from the original or from what is pure or correct (Check!)
"We have all hands on deck from our IT division," said Andrew Cole, a spokesman for Gessler.
On Monday, the site had 85,000 visits, Cole said, double the daily traffic a week ago and five times the daily number averaged in September.
I'm surprised Gessler didn't outsource IT to India or something...
Tuesday was the last day to register to vote for the Nov. 6 general election, and Democrats angrily complained the website had repeatedly crashed the past several days.
If we're using angry adjectives, let's add "corrupt" and "incompetent", eh, Post?
"For months, Secretary of State Gessler has been focused on diversions and purging lawful voters from the rolls instead of doing his job to ensure Coloradans have the opportunity to vote," said Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio.
Lazy, he said/she said reporting by the Post will be rightly criticized.
"Coloradans are potentially being disenfranchised in a historic election because he has not handled the most basic duties of his office."
"Incompetence by elected officials is no justification for denying citizens their right to vote."
Exactly correct. But Gessler's corrupt incompetence is his reason for being, his resume for the next step up the ladder in a dying political party. The Denver Post is giving him a pass because they want to seem impartial. What they don't get is that there is nothing impartial about corrupting Colorado's elections. Gessler's corruption has confused voters and tainted the process and will absolutely, not just "potentially", cause voters to stay home or be unable to vote.
Scott Gessler: Mission Accomplished! The next election has been thrown into question by your abject incompetence and plain-to-see corruption.
You may have heard that Secretary of State Scott Gessler said last week, in a speech to fellow conservatives, that the "left" doesn't care about voter fraud. But he also said, during the question and answer portion of his presentation, that he likes to "tease" that The Denver Post is the embodiment of the "liberal mainstream media."
Gessler: I always teasingly say that if I wanted to call central casting for a movie to get the mainstream media, the liberal mainstream media, they would send me The Denver Post editorial board.
That's Gessler's idea of teasing? I've heard him say this before, and it didn't sound like he was teasing then, but even if he is teasing, you wonder if arch conservative columnist Vincenet Carroll, who sits on the editorial board with radical lefty Post founder Dean Singleton, is amused.
Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler told a conservative audience Thursday that his critics really don't care about voter fraud and are "willing to lie" and "play the racism card."
Gessler, a Republican, made his comments during a panel discussion Thursday titled, "Stealing Elections: What the Left Doesn't Want You to Know About Voter Fraud," held at a gathering of the Conservative Political Action Conference in Denver. CPAC events regularly draw big names on the right, and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney even made a surprise visit Friday to the conference, held at a hotel near I-70 and Chambers Road.
The secretary of state appeared on the voter fraud panel along with representatives of several conservative organizations, including True the Vote, a highly controversial group that styles itself as an elections integrity organization but which critics say uses voter intimidation tactics.
Here's the key wisdom Scott imparted to his fellows:
"They (the left) don't care if they (would-be voters) are non-citizens," he told hundreds in the audience. "They'll register them to vote, and if that noncitizen registers and then votes, they suffer serious consequences -- criminal prosecution, loss of the ability to ever become a citizen -- but the voter registration drive never suffers any of those consequences. So, I think they're very happy to manipulate people into believing it's OK to ignore these laws."
In recent days, similar claims against Sproul have arisen in Nevada and Colorado. Sproul, 40, a former executive director of the Arizona Christian Coalition and the Republican Party in Arizona, is well known in political circles there. Since 2004, Sproul's companies -- he has operated under several corporate names -- have collected more than $17.6 million from Republican committees, candidates and the super PAC American Crossroads, mostly for voter registration operations, according to campaign finance records.
When Scott Gessler urges procecution of these proven Republican fraudsters I'll give a crap about anything he says about any single voter. Until then he should start doing his job, because up 'til he's proven to be an Incompetent State Employee and an Amoral Leech of Tax Dollars that pay his salary and the costs of these too-numerous-to-count, dead-end investigations of a problem that does not exist.
Here is a video shot by someone who saw a voter registration worker in front of her local supermarket. When she walked up the worker said she was "polling" for Obama or Romney, but admitted she asked the question because "[she] is only registering Romney voters." She also claimed to work for the County Clerk's office.
As it turns out, the registration worker was not working for the El Paso County Clerk's office, according to responses sent to The BRAD BLOG by the CO Secretary of State's office as well as the El Paso County Clerk. Instead, she was a paid employee of the state Republican Committee, as confirmed by the local GOP Chairman.
And, incredibly enough, both the Sec. of State and County Clerk, both Republicans, assert that what the registration worker is seen doing in the video, screening out potential voters based on who they might vote for is absolutely legal in the state of Colorado
All things that are legal are not necessarily ethical. When it comes to Republicans and voter registrations, ethics usually have very little to do with it.
The fact that it's Colorado GOP doing this makes me question both the ethics and the legality of the "job" Scott Gessler is doing on Colorado voters.
88% of challenged Colorado voters are U.S. citizens, check shows
At least 88 percent of the approximately 1,400 suspected noncitizens run through a federal database by the Colorado Secretary of State's office were determined to be U.S. citizens, and are therefore eligible to vote.
The office is looking further at the remaining roughly 168 people, but that list may also include people who are citizens, said Michael Hagihara of the state's elections division.
They'll say the other 12% could ruin our democracy and compromise our elections.
The truth is that these highly questionable actions by the Secretary of State (for all of Colorado's Voters, by they way) are what have compromised our elections and will cause citizens to hesitate in exercising their Constitutionally Ordained Right to Vote.
Mission Accomplished: Scott Gessler, Divisive Partisan and Corrupt Public Servant.
As Secretary of State Scott Gessler's term drags on, you'd think even KOA's conservative talk-show host Mike Rosen would get sick of it when Gessler re-launches the partisan attacks he's been leveling since day one in office.
It's gotten to the point that you'd think even the Rosens of the world would ask Gessler to take his elected position, as the overseer of fair elections, seriously, instead of sounding like... Mike Rosen!
But I know it's a fantasy to expect this type of thinking from Rosen. In fact, you can hear the approval in Rosen's voice when Gessler is on the show and he trashes Democrats.
For example, on Rosen's show last week, Rosen read Gessler a Denver Post quote from Joanne Kron Schwartz, the Director of the progressive group ProgressNow, saying that Gessler's attempt to find noncitizens on the voter rolls could intimidate some eligible voters, particularly Latinos, and result in their not voting.
A normal Secretary of State, who wants people to have faith in elections, would answer Schwartz's reasonable objection with facts.
But Gessler isn't normal, and his immediate response sounds like something Rush Limbaugh might blast out.
"Unfortunately this is part of the left's common tactic," Gessler told Rosen, "just to scream voter intimidation whenever anything comes up they don't like."
Let me just say, I'm part of the left and I don't scream voter intimidation "whenever anything comes up" that I don't like. I never scream it at my 15-year-old son, for example, when he leaves a pig-pen-like trail of debris around the house.
It seems that Mike Coffman of Colorado is doing his best to hand his congressional seat over to the Blue column, but for those not familiar with Mr Coffman, he is not just a dumb birther caught with a live microphone.
"At Issue: Forms used by Voter Registration Drives. They include a place for people to include their Driver's License Number, State ID Card Number or Social Security Number (only requires last 4 digits).
There is a box present which states "I do not have a Colorado Driver's license or Dept. of Revenue identification number" which people are supposed to mark if they are going to only give an SSN.
The Secretary of State has included in his Rules (dated July 2008) that any new voter who does not mark that box and only gives their SSN shall not be registered to vote. In mid-September he issued a memo to the County Clerks telling them specifically to not register anyone who does this."
The former chair of the American Legislative Exchange Council's recently disbanded Elections and Public Safety Task Force said most of the committee's work on voting and gun issues probably will not continue elsewhere within ALEC, but said some could be pursued if they have ties to economic issues.
"The criminal justice area has been one where we have had consensus in doing the kinds of things we're doing with justice re-investment and with the things like our smart on crime initiatives and those things I hope don't get damaged by these actions going on now to break up what we've been able to put together," said Republican Texas State Rep. Jerry Madden, former chair of the committee.
The National Rifle Association, a longtime member of and donor to ALEC, reportedly objected to the change.
During the previous week at least 10 companies left the organization following Color of Change's campaign that encouraged corporations to cut ties with ALEC due to its promotion of such laws.
In a gutsy move by a relatively unknown Democratic candidate in a Republican stronghold, SD27 Candidate David Paladino issued this press release today. Paladino joined Colorado AFL-CIO Executive Director Mike Cerbo, Pro-choice Colorado, the Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains Ballot Issue Committee, and Citizens for Integrity, in calling CO Secretary of State Scott Gessler's latest actions "unconstitutional".
If Paladino is this gutsy in his first political move, do Square State readers have a prediction for what might happen in his race against David Balmer?