Palacio: Incompetence No Justification For Denying Citizens Right to Vote
Denver – Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio issued the following statement today regarding the Secretary of State’s website repeated failures in the final week of voter registration. The Secretary of State’s website continues to crash today – the final day of voter registration – as it has on repeated occasions over the last several days, making it unnecessarily difficult for Coloradans to register to vote.
“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. Coloradans are potentially being disenfranchised in a historic election because has not handled the most basic duties of his office.
“Secretary of State Gessler needs to step forward and say what he is going to do to make sure every Coloradan has the opportunity to take part in this election. Incompetence by elected officials is no justification for denying citizens their right to vote.”
Below is an editorial from today’s Denver Post on Gessler’s partisanship:
Editorial: For Gessler, partisan is as partisan does
By The Denver Post
Published: Oct 9, 2012
Given its place among the handful of states that could decide the presidential election, Colorado has seen considerable activity from groups looking to register voters in advance of Tuesday’s deadline.
In a state where the pool of 2.5 million active voters is almost evenly divided between Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliated voters, the focus now turns to the election itself. And in that realm, the state’s chief elections officer is not setting himself up as being above the fray.
Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s partisanship is ill-advised in general, but it’s particularly troublesome this close to an election.
To wit: Last week he appeared on a panel titled “Stealing Elections: What the Left Doesn’t Want You to Know About Voter Fraud” at the Conservative Political Action Committee Conference.
Any chance for Gessler to argue that his appearance didn’t necessarily equate to an endorsement of that attention-grabbing title disappeared as soon as he delivered his remarks.
To hear him tell it, “the left” is “more than willing to lie” in order register non-citizens to vote.
“They (the left) don’t care if they (would-be voters) are non-citizens,” he told the audience.
“They’ll register them to vote, and if that non-citizen 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.”
Gessler offered scant proof to support his claims. But it should be noted that what he has previously called the “widespread fraud” of non-citizens voting was not even a rounding error.
He is on record as saying 11,805 non-citizens were registered to vote and more than 4,000 had actually voted. Turns out, after incorrectly challenging the voting eligibility of nearly 2,000 U.S. citizens, Gessler confirmed that fewer than 200 people on the state’s voter rolls were non-citizens and that 35may have voted.
Gessler’s CPAC remarks also ignored evidence that suggests “the right” isn’t immune from questionable voter registration practices.
In Florida, Strategic Allied Consulting — a firm hired by the state Republican Party — is being investigated for submitting fraudulent voter registration forms. That same company was fired by the Colorado Republican Party and at least one person the firm employed is the subject of a district attorney’s investigation in Arapahoe County.
Gessler says his quest to rid the voter rolls of non-citizens is a matter of preserving the integrity of our elections.
He would be a more effective messenger if he didn’t intentionally open himself up to criticism that his efforts are driven largely by his partisan views.