Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler has mailed letters to about 4,000 registered voters his office suspects may be noncitizens, asking them to either verify that they have become citizens or to voluntarily remove themselves from the state’s voter rolls. The letters, sent Wednesday to people who used a noncitizen identification when they applied for a Colorado driver’s license and who also are registered to vote, includes a “verification of voter eligibility” form for people who have become citizens to fill out and return. The letters also include instructions on how noncitizens may withdraw their registration. “Our approach improves the integrity of our voter rolls,” Gessler said in a statement Thursday. “Once we cut through the political noise, voters will see a measured approach that enforces the law and ensures that legal votes aren’t cancelled out by illegal voters.”
Critics of the Republican secretary of state’s efforts say he is intimidating voters — particularly minorities, who tend to be Democrats — from casting ballots. They also are concerned that eligible voters may be improperly removed from the voter rolls. “There needs to be a process in place that balances protecting the rights of eligible voters,” said Elena Nuñez, director of the voting rights group Colorado Common Cause. “There’s no indication from the secretary that kind of process exists.”
Gessler said his office will work with county clerks to decide what to do with registered voters who do not respond. He also said Colorado’s approach would be “more tempered” than North Carolina and Florida, where officials sent similar letters and canceled unresponsive voters.