Mesa County rescinds warnings to student voters
About 30 told registration changes would affect tuition, scholarships
The Mesa County Clerk and Recorder’s Office erroneously sent letters to about 30 Colorado Mesa University students earlier this month telling them they may not want to register to vote in the county.
The letter, signed by Elections Coordinator Sarah Martinez, was sent to caution students that their tuition or scholarship status could be impacted if they register in the county.
But it’s not the clerk’s office’s job to warn students of such things, and all 30 students were registered to vote the following day, said Mesa County Clerk Sheila Reiner.
“What happened was we had a couple of well-meaning elections officials in our office concerned for the college students,” Reiner said. “The law says we register them. As soon as we became aware of the letters’ content, I immediately showed it to our county attorney’s office, and we corrected the direction.”
Reiner said a couple of students did acknowledge that changing their voter registrations from their former homes elsewhere in the state or nation could have jeopardized their scholarships.
Still, no one was denied the right to register to vote, Reiner said.
Some Democratic Party officials in the state feared it was an attempt to block Democratic voters from this year’s ballot, but Reiner said that was not the case.
“We certainly did not mean it in any way to be a deterrent or voter intimidation in any way,” she said. “We corrected it right away and got them all registered the following day. It was well-meaning, but it was not a legal letter that we should have sent.”