Candidate: Colorado needs to fix voting rules

The Republican challenging Bernie Buescher for Colorado secretary of state said potential voters in Colorado are on the “honor system” when they register to vote.

Potential voters should be required to prove their citizenship, Scott Gessler, a Denver elections lawyer, said in an interview Thursday with The Daily Sentinel editorial board.

Gessler is challenging incumbent Bernie Buescher, a Grand Junction Democrat who is seeking election after being appointed to the post two years ago by Gov. Bill Ritter.

“I think we do have a problem,” Gessler said of the current voter-registration system, which allows people to register to vote providing they have lived in the state for 30 days and can prove it with utility bills, pay stubs, bank statements, Medicare or Medicaid cards, valid student identification cards from a Colorado institution of higher education, Social Security number, birth certificate or valid state driver’s license.

Colorado so far has had few problems with elections, but the state should take more precautions, he said.

“Ultimately you have to have prevention up front,” Gessler said. “You can’t wait for a scandal.”

While critics have said a requirement for a photo ID would suppress voting, Gessler said turnout increased in Georgia in 2008 when the requirement was instituted.

Gessler also was critical of the secretary of state’s office for seeking a waiver, ultimately denied, on federal requirements that military personnel be supplied with absentee ballots more than 45 days before an election.


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