Colorado Lawmakers Shelve “Proof of Citizenship” Bill, Gessler Steps In
State lawmakers decided not to re-introduce a bill intended to address claims, by Secretary of State Scott Gessler's office, that the 2010 elections saw thousands of illegal ballots cast in the state of Colorado.
Referred to as the “Voter Disenfranchise Act of 2011”, House Bill 1252 was introduced last year as part of a nationwide string of Republican-introduced election regulation legislation. Had it passed, the bill would have required the secretary of state to compare Colorado’s computerized voter registration against other state and federal records to determine the eligibility of those who voted inside the state.
from The Denver Post:
The sponsor, Rep. Chris Holbert(R-Parker) said the bill was a “soft touch” compared to requiring citizenship proof when registering to vote.
Holbert said the only option the secretary of state has now if he discovered someone was illegally registered to vote is turn the name over to the district attorney, which he said seems “heavy handed.” The bill would allow the office to send a letter to individual and request documentation of citizenship.
Spokespeople for Rep. Chris Holbert(R-Parker) and Sen. Ted Harvey(R-Highlands Ranch), the bills’ sponsors in the House and Senate, made clear that both men still remain committed to the issue. However, its the stance taken by Secretary of State Scott Gessler that is turning heads this week.
“Gessler said he was confident he could accomplish what he wanted to accomplish without legislation,” Katherine Vitale, an aide to House sponsor of the bill, Rep. Chris Holbert, told the Colorado Independent. “[Gessler] said there was no need for a bill.”
No stranger to attention, Secretary Gessler has found himself in the national spotlight numerous times since taking office in 2011. Most recently, Gessler found himself in the news after a series of court battles, for a variety of reasons ranging from attempts to block inactive-voter ballots from being mailed to attempting to alter the state’s long-standing campaign finance disclosure laws. Government watchdog groups were alarmed to hear the secretary’s newest plans, but were not surprised.
from The Colorado Independent:
Last year, the secretary of state asked the legislature to change the law to give him authority to address this alleged problem,” Colorado Ethics Watch Director Luis Toro wrote in an email. “Nothing has changed since then, except that the secretary has apparently made the calculation that he won’t fare better with the legislature this year than he did last year. We appear headed for a repeat of the all-too-familiar pattern where Secretary Gessler simply does as he pleases, forcing someone to go to court for yet another ruling that the Secretary has overstepped his authority.
(image courtesy of Huffington Post/AP)
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