Heading into the final month of a highly partisan and controversial legislative session in which they’ve already passed civil unions, in-state tuition and gun control legislation, Democrats aren’t letting up. On Wednesday, Democratic lawmakers will introduce another bill guaranteed to spark yet another political battle royale: an omnibus elections bill that will allow residents to register to vote as late as Election Day and direct county clerks to mail ballots to every voter. “This is a partisan power play,” said Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, a Republican, who says the bill’s backers didn’t include his office or any GOP lawmakers in drafting the legislation. “It is not a bipartisan effort to have all voices at the table.” Last November, nearly three of every four Colorado voters cast their ballots by mail.
The Colorado County Clerks Association, which requested many of the provisions that will be included in the legislation in a letter to lawmakers late last year, announced its support for the measure on Tuesday. “The voters really want mail ballots. We’ve got 72 percent of the voters who want that. And we’ve also got voters who want to cast their votes early,” said Donetta Davidson, a former Colorado Secretary of State, the director of the clerks group and a Republican. “It gives the voter all these options about how they want to vote.”
Gessler opposes many of the changes being proposed and has argued ever since taking office that same-day registration and wider use of mail ballots will lead to voter fraud. “”We perform better than all mail ballot states, we perform better than the vast majority of same-day registration states. There is no need for this bill,” Gessler told FOX31 Denver Wednesday. “I think what this is really going to do is open the door to vote fraud.”
Gessler has also pushed to tighten voter identification laws, something he believes is a must before same-day registration is implemented.