A bill designed by Secretary of State Scott Gessler and sponsored by Rep. Chris Holbert, R-Parker, to ensure the integrity of the Colorado voting system is being called a means to reduce voter participation by voters’ rights advocates. Gessler said his bill fixes what he sees as a serious problem of ineligible voters on the voter rolls.
The bill would give the secretary of state the authority to check names on voter registration lists against state and federal records that provide information on immigration status. In those cases where the secretary of state’s office determines that there is enough information to believe a person is not eligible to vote, the person would be given 90 days to provide evidence they are eligible. Individuals could prove their citizenship by showing photocopies of a passport, birth certificate, naturalization papers or through other methods.
For those who could not afford a birth certificate the secretary of state’s office would provide the necessary funds. “This should have been done four years ago during the special session,” Holbert told the committee. However, Rep. Lois Court, D-Denver, said she would like to see evidence that non-citizens have participated in voter fraud and said she did not see a reason to tackle a problem that had not been proven to exist.
Jenny Flanagan, executive director for Colorado Common Cause, told the Colorado Independent the bill went one step too far. “This is just another attempt to limit people’s participation in the vote,” Flanagan said. ”It is in the guise of an integrity measure, but it is really anything but.” She said the bill likely violated constitutional voting rights.