Pueblo County Clerk Gilbert “Bo” Ortiz intends to send out 17,687 mail ballots to inactive local voters if given the go-ahead by the state courts, he said Thursday. Secretary of State Scott Gessler filed suit this week against Denver County over its plan to send ballots this year to roughly 38,000 inactive voters. Pueblo County is the only other county in the state where local officials have indicated they also intend to send ballots to inactive voters.
Gessler told Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson this week that state law no longer permits ballots to be sent to inactive voters — meaning those voters who failed to vote in the last general election and have not responded to prompts by local county clerks to confirm their registration.
The crux of the issue is a state law that “sunset” this year, which formerly required clerks to send ballots to active and inactive voters alike. Johnson and Ortiz both took the position this year that the requirement is still in effect.
Gessler insists it has expired and the language in the former statute limits clerks to sending ballots to active voters only. Ortiz said that he has planned to send out 80,122 mail ballots for the November election of which 17,687 are intended for inactive voters.
“We’ve ordered the paper and for the ballots to be printed, but we need a final decision (by the state courts) by Oct. 14,” he said. “We sent out ballots to active and inactive voters in 2007, 2009 and 2010, and I wanted to be consistent this year.” Noting that Gessler has filed suit in Denver, Ortiz said state law requires the courts to take fast action on election disputes when they occur prior to an election.
Full Article: 17,687 county ballots in limbo – The Pueblo Chieftain: Local.