For the sake of civic order, journos should correct Gessler’s misinformation that you can vote anywhere you want
Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler told KNUS talk-radio host Steve Kelley yesterday: “Now, apparently, you don’t have to live in the district in order to be able to vote there, which I think is just absurd.”
Gessler’s comment to Kelley contradicts voting rules issued by Gessler’s own office in August. On the subject of residency requirements, Gessler’s rule (32.7.3.D) stated that voters must, in fact, reside in the district in which they vote.
Among other things, the rule stated that “intent to move, in and of itself, does not establish residence.”
AN ELECTOR MUST ESTABLISH A RESIDENCE BEFORE REGISTERING TO VOTE OR CHANGING HIS OR HER RESIDENCE IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 1-2-102, C.R.S. AN ELECTOR’S RESIDENCE IS HIS OR HER PRIMARY HOME TO WHICH HE OR SHE, WHENEVER ABSENT, HAS THE PRESENT INTENT OF RETURNING. AN ELECTOR ESTABLISHES A RESIDENCE EITHER BY MAINTAINING A RESIDENCE AS HIS OR HER PRIMARY HOME OR BY PHYSICALLY MOVING TO A NEW RESIDENCE WITH THE INTENT TO MAINTAIN THAT RESIDENCE AS A PRIMARY HOME. INTENT TO MOVE, IN AND OF ITSELF, DOES NOT ESTABLISH RESIDENCE….
This residency rule was part of a set of election guidelines that also included a measure, later thrown out by a judge, that would have made it harder for military families and students to vote.
Rather than just rescind the portion rejected by the courts, Gessler’s office struck all of the guidelines in the rule, including the portion on residency requirements. So the SOS’ residency guidelines are now off the books. Still, it’s the last word we’d gotten from Gessler’s office on the residency topic, and it contradicts what Gessler told Kelley yesterday.
And, re-focusing on the bigger picture, it’s Alice-and-Wonderland logic to assert that Colorado’s new election law allows you to vote anywhere you want in the entire state, regardless of where you live. And it’s Mad Hatter-like for Secretary of State to say this, especially when his office contradicted him a couple months ago.
In a conversation with The Colorado Independent’s Mike Littwin Tuesday, Gessler hinted that he knows deep down that you’re required to vote where you reside. Gessler seemed to praise Jon Caldara for “staying in El Paso” after he voted there as part of a media stunt that’s gotten Caldara in legal trouble. But as Littwin pointed out, Caldara has announced that he will continue to reside in Boulder.
But the day after he talked to Littwin, Gessler stepped up his rhetoric, saying on the radio if “you say you intend to live there then I guess that’s good enough.” Then he went into full attack mode on the election law, forgetting that it was promoted by a bipartisan group of county clerks from across the state:
Gessler: But it just goes to show that the pull behind this bill really didn’t care about fairness. They didn’t care about listening to any other opinions except their own. They didn’t care about anything except, in my view a ruthless partisan power play. And that’s what they did. And when they froze everyone out, anyone who might disagree with them, they froze them out and refused to even talk to them about it. It shows you they were up to something, and you see the result. Apparently, you don’t have to live in the district anymore to be able to vote there. And that’s absurd.
What’s really absurd would be if Gessler’s comments go uncorrected in Denver media circles.