View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Monday, October 18, 2004

Judge Upholds ID 

Judge Morris Hoffman has thankfully upheld the ID requirement for voters in Colorado. So you can't show up and claim to be your neighbor.

Hoffman overturned the rule that those who had requested an absentee ballot could not vote provisionally, but did require them to sign an affadavit that they had not returned the absentee ballot. Hopefully, this will discourage the casual miscreant. Still, someone could show up and vote provisionally as someone else, a determined liar being a determined liar. Remember, provisional ballots require no ID, as long as they are not first-time voters.

Finally, the judge upheld the Secretary of State's ruling that those who vote outside their home precinct will only have their vote for President counted.

This ruling seemed in line with the way the judge was questioning both counsel and witnesses, although I also thought that the administrative burdens of cross-checking provisional ballots with absentees would prove decisive the other way.

For those of you who are interested, the decision is available here. It's large, 117K.

UPDATE: The Secretary of State's Office has issued a press release celebrating the decision, and encouraging people who have requested absentee ballots to vote that way. They call it a "minor adjustment," although they felt strongly to go to court to prevent it.

Personally, I think this is a beneficial decision, although I'd like to have a chance to read through the opinion before deciding if it's a good one. Scanning it, Hoffman seems to have grounded it in US and Colorado Constitutional history. Despite his assertion as I walked in that "there really is no such thing as legislative history," he in fact quotes Senator Bond about HAVA, and tries to determine what Congress was trying to accomplish, not what he believes to be morally correct.

I did think at the time that the state had had the hardest time making their case on the absentee-provisional conflict, and that they needed to do more to prove that the number of hand-counted ballots would overwhelm the clerks. My guess was that they had slid through, but the judge evidently felt otherwise.

More when I get a chance to read the opinion.

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