Get Ready for Voter Fraud in ColoradoPosted: October 12, 2014
Premeditated: A new election law leaves the door wide open for abuse in hotly contested races
John Fund writes: Perhaps the most hard-fought Senate race this year will be Colorado’s showdown between Democratic senator Mark Udall and Republican congressman Cory Gardner. The RealClearPolitics average of polls in the race shows Gardner holding a lead of 1.3 percentage points. The outcome may determine control of the U.S. Senate, and the margin of victory could be less than the 11,000-vote margin by which Democratic senator Michael Bennet was reelected in Colorado in 2010.
[Also see: John Fund’s Voter Fraud: We’ve Got Proof It’s Easy]
But there is a significant difference in this year’s Senate race. In 2013, a new Democratic state legislature rammed through a sweeping and highly controversial election law and convinced Democratic governor John Hickenlooper to sign it. The law, known as House Bill 1303, makes Colorado the only state in the country to combine two radical changes in election law: 1) abolishing the traditional polling place and having every voter mailed a ballot and 2) establishing same-day registration, which allows someone to appear at a government office and register and vote on the same day without showing photo ID or any other verifiable evidence that establishes identity. If they register online a few days before, no human being ever has to show up to register or vote. A few keystrokes can create a voter and a “valid” ballot. Once a ballot cast under same-day registration is mixed in with others, there is no way to separate it out if the person who voted is later found ineligible. Other jurisdictions that have same-day registration, such as Washington, D.C., treat the vote as a provisional ballot pending verification. Colorado immediately counts the vote.
“We have uniquely combined two bad ideas, both of which open the door to fraud and error along with creating huge administrative headaches,” warns Republican Scott Gessler, Colorado’s secretary of state. Along with the liberal Denver Post (the state’s leading newspaper) and a few Republican clerks from the state’s largest counties, Gessler fought passage of the law.
[Order John Fund’s book “Who’s Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk“ from Amazon.com]
Wayne Williams is the clerk of El Paso County, which includes Colorado Springs, the state’s second-largest city. He says HB 1303 was sold as a way to “modernize” elections and increase turnout, but it’s fixing a system that wasn’t broken. In 2012, Colorado was among the top three states in the turnout of eligible citizens. Its number of registered voters that year climbed 13.7 percent, well above normal population growth. At the same time, the state’s online voter-registration system processed 250,000 changes submitted by voters, ensuring a more accurate and less duplicative record of the electorate.
Colorado’s system works well enough that when progressive activists placed a measure on the state’s ballot to impose same-day registration in 2002, it was rejected by more than 60 percent of voters despite a massive spending advantage for same-day-registration supporters. “There was general agreement it wasn’t needed and would increase fraud and confusion,” Bill Cadman, minority leader of the state senate, told me. He notes that on the same day Colorado rejected same-day voter registration in 2002, voters in liberal California rejected it by a similar landslide.
Having suffered stinging defeat at the polls, advocates of same-day registration were careful in 2013 to have it approved by the state legislature instead of the people. They rammed through the bill without any bipartisan input. It allowed those running voter-registration drives to delay delivery of the registrations they accepted, reducing the time available to check the data on them…(read more)
— John Fund is national affairs correspondent for NRO and co-author, with Hans Von Spakovsky, of Who’s Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk“