Scott Gessler has demonstrated he will fight for voting integrity
If you voted for Scott Gessler to be Colorado Secretary of State because you’re worried about voter integrity, you’re probably pretty happy with his performance. If you think requirements for voting should be about the same as ordering a side of fries from a drive-through window, you’re probably not.
Gessler ran on a platform of simplifying the functioning of the office to make it more business friendly and to do everything possible to raise the integrity of the voting system. One of the things that keeps the system of voting less prone to error and fraud is to remove people who are dead, moved or haven’t voted in a substantial period of time from the rolls.
Most registrations that fall in those categories are simply targets of opportunity for individuals wanting to perpetrate voter fraud. The nonpartisan election integrity group, True the Vote, agrees and this week sent out notices to 160 counties across the United States that had more registered voters on their election rolls than living, breathing, eligible voters. Colorado is one of the states to which these notices were sent.
The group has some pretty startling statistics which identify places like Jefferson, Miss., with 230 percent voter registration, and Hanson, S.D., with 165 percent. The organization is scheduled to have a national meeting in Denver on Aug. 18. If Gessler isn’t invited to speak, he should be.
Gessler’s office shares the same concern about bloated registration rolls and has been trying to clear them up since he was elected, but it continues to be stymied whenever possible by groups that seem to have no desire to have requirements for proper identification to vote in incredibly important elections.
So what we’re left with is a system where people are required to produce more identification to buy alcohol and cigarettes and get library cards than to vote for the leader of the free world or the governor of their state. If photo ID requirements are disenfranchising, we’re really harming a lot of people wanting to cash checks and buy Sudafed.
Here’s an example of the problem Gessler’s office faces. When it attempted to conduct what it called a “spot check” and “quality assurance” in a Denver Post article, the office queried jails and 10 of the Colorado’s largest counties, with people being held in those jails on immigration detainers. Mesa was one of those counties. It found 85 people apparently registered to vote and reportedly 29 were active voters or had cast ballots in or since the 2010 election, according to the Post.
Nationally and locally, calls for voter integrity reform meet with bizarre claims of voter suppression, often from the same groups that require more identification to attend their conventions than they want required to vote for president.
The remarks of these critics about the poor being disenfranchised because they do not have a photo ID implies some sort of strange fantasy about the poor from 1930s Appalachia, where people have to unhook the mule from the plow to ride it into town. Those folks, by the way, did a pretty respectable job of building the nation and probably took voting more seriously than we do today.
And if you don’t think having ineligible voters can be a problem, perhaps you’d like to look at a posting by Byron York in the Washington Examiner. He points out that the 2008 Minnesota Senate race was won by the comedian Al Franken by just 312 votes.
A group called Minnesota Majority looked into claims of voter fraud and compared criminal records with voting rolls. It identified 1,099 felons, all ineligible to vote, who voted in the Senate race, York wrote. I’m just guessing here, but given the GOP’s stance on crime and punishment versus the Democrats’, I’m giving the edge among felons to Franken. So far, 177 of them have been convicted of voter fraud.
Recently, in the Wisconsin recall election, some voting wards in Madison had more than 100 percent participation. Some explain this by the fact that Wisconsin has the equally troubling approach of allowing people to register the day of the election. Their votes are then counted but only later verified. Vote first, verify later. Not really a way to treat such an important function.
Rick Wagner writes more about politics at his blog “The War on Wrong.”