Thursday, September 22, 2011

Disenfranchising Voters

All over the country politicians are pushing to find ways to keep ordinary citizens away from the poles. In Colorado, the new Secretary of State Scott Gessler (R) is trying to keep County Clerk's from mailing ballots to inactive voters, those being voters who may not have voted in the 2010 election. In an article in the Denver Post, Debra Johnson was quoted as saying, "The City and County of Denver has consistently provided all eligible voters with ease of access to the voting franchise and we plan to continue to do so,"
Denver has 236,410 active voters and 55,023 voters in the "inactive/failed to vote" category, meaning they didn't vote in 2010 and haven't responded to postcard requests about whether they want a ballot this fall. She plans to send out ballots to inactive voters in spite of threats to take her to court from the aforementioned Secretary of State Gessler. In 2009-10 the State Legislator passed a law requiring county clerks to mail ballots to inactive voters because the county clerks had the option of using mail-ballot election for the primary according to Sen. Ken Gordon, D-Denver. Though this law was not reathorized, the clerks still have the option of mailing to inactive voters.
Read more:Denver clerk, Colorado secretary clash over who gets mail-in ballots - The Denver Post
 But the real story here is not about mail in ballots or local politics. The real story is the one that is currently being fought all over the country- the disenfranchisement of voters. Here in Colorado, our story is being played out in a fight between Secretary of State Gessler and the County Clerks. In other states there are other battles going on- some that require voters to show legal IDs in order to vote which seem benign enough but are still intent on keeping people away from the poles! Sometimes the battle, like this one, will effect only a few. But we know that a few voters can make a difference. They did in Florida in 2000 and they have in days gone by. Pay attention to local politics and fight back when your politicians are trying to keep a segment of your population from voting!  

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