During his first meeting with county clerks, newly elected Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler made a comment that some at the table found odd but would later prove prophetic. I’m probably going to be in court more than any previous secretary of state, Gessler said, according to several people in the room.
Just one year into his first term, the prediction hasn’t come true yet. But neither Gessler nor his critics will be surprised if it does. “Folks are gunning for me, and the lawsuit-happy folks are the ones I fought for years,” the former elections attorney said. “I’m a target.”
If the Republican Gessler is a target, his critics contend, it’s because he’s made himself one with a series of moves — from trying to work at his former job while in office to suing two county clerks to proposing a wholesale rewrite of Colorado’s campaign-finance rules.
Rather than backing down, Gessler made it clear he plans to continue his aggressive way.
For starters, he plans to try again during the legislative session that starts next month to pass a law requiring voters to provide photo identification in order to cast ballots.
He also will ask lawmakers to cut the early voting period from two weeks to one, legislation he said is intended to cut costs.
Opponents are prepared to challenge those efforts, which they see as attempts at voter suppression.
With 2012 being a major election year, the stakes are high.