A battle over which voters should get ballots in Denver for this November’s election is headed to court this week. Secretary of State Scott Gessler (R-Colorado) is suing the city’s top election official, Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson, because she plans to mail ballots to people even if they didn’t vote last year. “It’s a difference of interpretation of state statue between inactive-fail to vote and their ability to receive a mail ballot,” Johnson said.
“Once the state legislature sets up the law, we need to follow it. That’s my position,” Gessler said.
The question a judge will consider this Friday is whether Denver can mail election ballots to the 55,000 residents who are registered to vote, but are considered inactive. That’s about 20 percent of the city’s electorate. Johnson says Denver has done so for several years with no problems. Gessler says a state law permitting it has expired, so it’s against the law to continue to do so. He says there is also concern about election fraud.
“There are some concerns about fraud. The question is how much is out there. That’s always a debate. And what protections do you have in place? That debate I think is proper in the state legislature,” Gessler said.
“I think the most important thing is that regardless of who receives the ballot, there’s so many checks and balances – once we receive the ballot, that signature verification, for example, is one that we diligently check on every ballot that is returned,” Johnson said.