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Colorado’s majority-Democrat legislature adopted a series of new election laws that could be used by unscrupulous campaigners to alter election results by bringing in a flood of outside voters, according to election officials.
A new law allows someone who has lived anywhere in Colorado for 22 days to walk into an election polling location in another district and, with a statement of intent to move to that area, be given a ballot.
Critics point out an unscrupulous person could lie, and unless he admits to lying, there appears to be little law enforcement could do.
The development comes as two Democrats who helped their party ram through major gun restrictions and other liberal agenda items in the last session face recall elections.
Weld County Clerk and Recorder Steve Moreno told WND it is his understanding that a voter living for more than 22 days in Weld County, far from the districts where Sens. John Morse (Colorado Springs) and Angela Giron (Pueblo) are being recalled for their gun ban agenda, could come and cast a vote.
“My understanding is that a registered voter in our county could drive down to El Paso County and go to one of their service centers,” Moreno explained. “Once there he could tell them he was a registered voter in Weld County and state his intent is to move into the area and provide them with an address. After signing the registration form he would be given a ballot to cast in the recall. After casting the ballot you could simply go about your business.”
The changes were adopted in the legislature just as the recall campaigns were being prepared for Morse and Giron.
The modifications also do away with a provision for county clerks and recorders to remove from the rosters inactive voters. In addition, all elections must now be conducted by mail-in ballot.
Supporters said the goal was to increase turnout, even though Secretary of State Scott Gessler said that in the 2012 election, Colorado was one of the few states that increased voter turnout. Colorado’s turnout was even higher than states that use mail-in ballots and eight states that allow same-day registration.
Gessler believes the changes will open the door to voter intimidation.
“Independent groups have access to voter information, and there is nothing stopping them from going to people’s homes and asking them to vote a certain way and fill out the ballot right then and there,” he explained.
The old law also required a voter to live in a district for 30 days prior to an election to avoid “gypsy votes” coming in from other areas of the state.
Jon Caldera, president of the free-market Independence Institute in Denver, said the new law turns the recall elections into a state-wide free-for-all in which supporters can bus in people from all over the state to cast a ballot.
“Since the passage of this new horrendous voter law, it’s not get-out-the-vote that counts, it’s bringing in the votes from outside your district that’s going to count,” Caldera said.
Moreno said the current focus is on the recall elections, but the new law could also influence congressional races.
If a voter lived in an area in which his candidate’s re-election was all but assured, he could go to a different district that is contested and help the candidate get elected by declaring an intent to move.
Supporters of the law claim these scenarios amount to nothing more than fear mongering because the legislation provides stiff penalties for those who lie about their intent to move. However, Moreno insists there’s no way to enforce it.
“They say there is protection because if you are challenged and get caught and are found guilty it is a felony and you could face up to one and a half years in prison, but unless a person admits they lied and had no intention to move there, it would be difficult to prosecute. The problem is once that ballot is cast there is no way to find out how they voted since it is anonymous. We have some grave concerns about this law.”
To highlight how the new law can facilitate voter fraud, the Independence Institute started a website last weekend called Bring in the Vote. The site provides tips such as a “handy guide to recall voting.”
To highlight how the provision allows a person from outside of a district to vote, Caldera, who lives in Denver, announced he will legally vote in the recall election against Morse by declaring he has an “intention” to make his permanent home in Morse’s district.
“It is my belief that this extremely sloppy new election law was designed to legally move voters into districts where their vote is most useful. I will show how this dangerous new law works by easily and legally voting in the John Morse recall election,” explained Caldara. “John Morse sponsored this law and worked its passage through the Senate. And now, sadly, under this law future Colorado elections will be decided by which candidate has the most buses.”
Richard Coolidge, a spokesman for Gessler’s office, said officials are very concerned about the issue and attempted to release guidelines that would have helped prevent gypsy voters, but McGahey ruled against the efforts.
He said attempts will be made to keep the election clean, including notices that will be mailed to voters after the election to confirm their addresses.
Those cards returned as undeliverable will be forwarded to the district attorney for investigation.