Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler claims he’s under unwarranted attacks by media and Democratic leaders like Rick Palacio, who recently accused Gessler’s proposed voting policy as an attempt at voter suppression. Palacio connected Gessler’s legislations to the 1965 civil rights movement, during which advocates protesting for African-American voting rights were beaten by police. “This time, however, Americans won’t be faced with night sticks. They’ll instead be faced with new laws written by the Republican legislature and the Secretary of State,” Palacio said at a Monday press conference. Rich Coolidge, a spokesman for Gessler’s office, replies to Palacio’s comment: “Instead of giving Colorado voters a positive message about his candidates, chairman Palacio is resorting to fear-mongering and distorted, negative attacks. I hope this doesn’t set the tone for the rest of the year.”
Matt Inzeo, communications director for the Colorado Democratic Party says Palacio’s statements were pointed at Gessler’s support of a legislation that would require voters to show photo identifications. Under current Colorado law, voters are allowed to use birth certificates and bank statements as I.D. rather than being limited to one with a photo.
Inzeo says the legislation disproportionately suppresses minority and lower-income communities. “The reality is, it takes resources to have an I.D,” Inzeo says. “If you don’t have the means to own a car, an I.D. isn’t necessarily a given. You need to be in a position to take off multiple hours of a job to get it, and they’re not free. Those are all factors that stack the deck against a lower income individual. If you turn that into a requirement you’re naturally disadvantaging someone.”