Gessler reportedly agrees to measure that would eliminate “inactive-failed-to-vote” designation in CO election law

I reported last week that Secretary of State Scott Gessler was in Glenwood Springs¬†recently telling a local reporter that he’d been working with Denver County Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson to solve their disagreement about whether voters who’ve missed just one general election should be sent mail-in ballots like other registered voters.

Carbondale-based radio station KDNK quoted Gessler saying that if the State Legislature approves a “solution” that Gessler claimed to have hammered out with Johnson, then “the issue will probably ultimately go away.”

This seemed like a strange statement, given that Gessler is in the midst of suing Johnson to stop her from mailing ballots to voters who’ve missed just one election.

So I called Johnson’s office to get its reaction.

Alton Dillard, a Spokesperson for the Denver Elections Division, told me that Gessler and Johnson agree on a measure to get rid of the “inactive-failed-to-vote” designation entirely, thereby allowing to voters who’ve missed just one election to receive mail-in ballots.

This is “essentially” the same proposal, with a few tweeks, that was considered by the Legislature last year, as Senate Bill 101, but was blocked, Dalton said.

Under the proposal, voters could still be put on “inactive” status if their ballot or another piece of voter communication was returned, Dalton said, adding that voters would have a number of options to return to active status.

This year, the inactive-failed-to-vote measure is believed to be included in a larger bill with a number of election-related provisions, Dalton said, but he’s not seen this legislation.

Dalton emphasized that the Denver Clerk and Recorder’s Office has a “great relationship” with the Secretary of State’s Office, though the two government entities “continue to work through some philosophical disagreements.”

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