Lost in the news of last Tuesday's elections was something very important: after right-wing Secretary of State Scott Gessler filed a lawsuit to stop counties from mailing ballots to all registered voters, and lost, those so-called "inactive" voters weighed in--at the ballot box.
According to preliminary elections data, some 5.5% of "inactive" voters, meaning registered voters who didn't vote in 2010, returned their ballots this year. That's almost double Scott Gessler's pre-election estimate. In Pueblo County, where Clerk Gilbert "Bo" Ortiz stood up to Gessler and sent ballots to all registered voters, over 10% of "inactive" voters returned their ballots--over three times what Gessler had predicted. And despite Gessler's overblown warnings of "fraud," there have been no reports of irregularities of any kind.
Click here to say thanks to the nine county clerks who stood up to Scott Gessler.
In total, nine Colorado counties--Alamosa, Boulder, Conejos, Costilla, Denver, Eagle, Huerfano, Pitkin, and Pueblo--opted to send ballots to all "inactive-failed to vote" voters, as they had previously done before a law guaranteeing ballots would be sent expired last year. Except Denver and Pueblo, all of the counties who sent mail ballots did so only after Gessler's request for an injunction to prevent them from being mailed was denied.
How many thousands more Coloradans might have voted this year if all counties using mail ballots had followed the lead of these nine brave clerks?
Next January the legislature will convene, and a new law will be introduced guaranteeing that no mail ballot election in Colorado is ever conducted in this unequal manner again. Click here to thank county clerks in our state who put voting rights ahead of bureaucracy--and pledge your support for legislation to end the unequal status of "inactive" voters in mail ballot elections once and for all.
In 2011, we became aware of a glitch in Colorado election law when an unscrupulous public official tried to exploit it to reduce the number of people who vote. Working together, ProgressNow Colorado members helped stop Scott Gessler's wrongheaded lawsuit against Denver. Next January in the legislature, and every day he remains in office, we have to hold Gessler accountable; and stop him every time he acts against the voting rights of Colorado citizens.