View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Monday, October 11, 2004

The Post Discovers Vote Fraud 

Halleluljah! The Denver Post's Susan Greene has finally discovered voter fraud. It turns out that Colorado may have as many as 6000 felons or parolees registered to vote, that several hundred have managed to register this year, and that some single-digit number may actually have voted in the primary. The good news is that certain Denver Election Commissioners may no longer be able to play the Black Knight when it comes to voter fraud in Colorado. ("No, it's only a rumor! I've seen worse! Come back here!") The bad news is that it looks like the Secretary of State's office bears at least partial responsibility for the screw-up.

I've generally been supportive of the Secretary of State's office. They've been gamely backing up a registration system that makes Marv Thronberry look like Lou Gerhig. But this is Bill Buckner territory they're in here. Yes, it's true that the Department of Corrections (a.k.a. Mookie Wilson) hasn't exactly been responsive. It's also true that any county could have requested such a list, if it were interested. It's also true that there's no way of forcing county elections officials to make use of a comprehensive list, were one produced. It's also true that those same elections officials are treating voter registration this year as a data entry problem.

But by not passing on a list of ineligible felons to the counties, the Secretary of State has opened itself up to getting blamed for an easily-preventable error, and giving its critics an opening to discredit all its anti-fraud efforts. In fact, that's exactly Ms. Greene and Mr. Roberts do, finding room for the typical scare quote from Pete Maysmith of Common Cause, but no room at all to ask any county officials why they didn't think about this and request the list. Something called the Colorado Voting Project has been actively signing up new voters in prison, not telling them of the requirement, which would seem to be at least negligent. Don't hold your breath waiting for our Attorney General to investigate.

They also follow the Post's custom of identifying Republicans, but not Democrats. For instance, the Colorado Voting Project, run by Carol "Power to the Incarcerated" Peeples, received $2500 from the Right to Vote Campaign, a "coalition of minority groups."

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