Boulder and Pitkin counties have reversed course and will send election ballots to inactive voters this month, the Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s office confirmed Monday. That turnaround comes only two days after a Denver district judge refused to block Denver and Pueblo counties from doing so.
Boulder will send ballots to about 24,000 inactive voters, while Pitkin will send out about 2,500 ballots. Mesa County officials also notified Gessler on Monday that they will send ballots to their inactive military and overseas voters only, but not to inactive voters within their county. El Paso County, which has a heavy registration of overseas military voters, was the target of protests Friday from one veterans group objecting to Clerk Wayne Williams’ decision not to send ballots to about 800 inactive military voters. Williams reaffirmed after the court ruling that his county does not intend to send ballots to any of its 63,000 inactive voters, regardless of Friday’s court ruling.
The Boulder, Pitkin and Mesa counties’ turnaround came after Denver District Judge Brian Whitney refused Gessler’s motion Friday to impose an injunction against Denver County Clerk Debra Johnson from sending out ballots to 54,000 inactive voters. While Pueblo County Clerk Gilbert “Bo” Ortiz has joined with Johnson in saying he intended to send ballots to those voters as well — 17,000 in Pueblo County’s case — he was not formally cited in Gessler’s lawsuit or Friday’s hearing.
At that hearing, Whitney didn’t rule on Gessler’s central claim that current state law doesn’t allow mail ballots to be sent to anyone but active voters — meaning voters who took part in the 2010 election or have freshened their registration since then.