Kelley & Company, Scott Gessler, April 3, 2013

Station:      KNUS, 710 AM

Show:        Kelley & Company          

Guests:      Gessler

Link:          http://www.710knus.com/podcastlineup.aspx

Date:         April 3, 2013

Topics:      Same Day Voter Registration, Voter Fraud, Colorado Legislature, Liberal Partisan Agenda, Elections Administration Bill, Voter Turnout, Municipal Elections, General Elections, County Clerk and Recorders,  Clerk and Recorders’ Association, Guns, Education, Single Payer Healthcare, Wisconsin 2004 Election, Milwaukee,

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HOST STEVE KELLEY:   […] Scott, I got this email yesterday. […] [reading from the email] “The Democrats on Capitol Hill are working on a major election administration bill.  We wish we had more details, but our office has been excluded from the discussion and even writing of the bill.  Everyone at Capitol Hill seems to agree, it will include at least Same Day Voter Registration, mandatory All Mail ballot elections”:  two policies that you vehemently, sir, disagree with, and why?    

CO SECRETARY OF STATE, SCOTT GESSLER:  Well, let me tell you.  It really opens the door to big problems in the state of Colorado:  problems with vote fraud, problems with the election integrity.  You know, and other states have used these procedures before and we’ve seen real problems there, as well.  You know, the thing I find particularly frustrating as is Colorado has really good elections.  You know,  the people who generally sort of argue for this stuff say, “Well, you know, we needed to increase voter participation.”  And you look at this last election, Colorado –our voter participation was the third best in the country.  We outperform the – three-quarters of the Same Day Voter Registration states.  We outperform the All Mail Ballot states.  So to me, what it says is these folks who are pushing this type of stuff aren’t looking to solve a problem.  They’re not even really looking to improve our elections.  I think they’re really pushing it for some type of partisan gain, or a way to change the system, to game it, that’s going to help them.

KELLEY:   Yeah, you believe this will open the door to fraud – a lot more fraud opportunity

GESSLER:  You know, I definitely think it will.  You know, we’ve got mail ballots elections now for sort of the smaller, you know, municipal elections.  And a lot of people chose to vote by mail in our general elections.  But that’s a lot different than mandating it for everyone and sending everyone on the voter roll automatically a mail ballot for every election.  I think that causes real problems with that. And the Same Day Voter Registration side, where you don’t have time to check and validate anyone’s voter registration, there’s administrative problems, because then every single voting location has to be hard—has to be wired up with an internet connection. So you have problems there.  And then, we’ve seen in other states – Wisconsin is a great example.  In 2004,–sort of a famous example, there were four to five thousand more votes in Milwaukee than there were voters. And–

KELLEY:   [chuckles]

GESSLER:  –the police actually investigated this, and –

KELLEY:   Yeah!

GESSLER:  –And I’m all for vote turnout, you know, but when it gets above a hundred percent, that’s a bit of a  problem. 

KELLEY:   Yeah!  The math doesn’t – just doesn’t add up! That sounds very political, especially when you’re dealing on a federal level, here.  [stammers]  The idea of mail-in ballots, I mean, — what frustrates me most, Secretary Gessler, is the fact that you’re not even being included in the discussion, and this bill will probably move quickly through the legislature, don’t you think?  Because, if it’s that one-sided, is it going to get that much attention? 

GESSLER:  Well, I think they’re going to really try hard to jam it through at the last minute.  You know, and I’m trying to get people to pay attention to this.  And I think we’re succeeding because, you know, what my other concern is, what you’re seeing happen is you’ve got this legislature  that’s pushing this incredibly liberal, Left-wing agenda.  I mean, guns, special education for first graders, you know, single payer health care system – they’re trying to jam all that stuff through and then change the rules for the elections so that they can seal in their majorities forever.  I think that’s what they’re trying to do.  And so, um–

KELLEY:   How is it that you’re left out of the discussion?  You’re the Secretary of State.  You are in charge of elections.  How is it that you’re not brought in for at least discussion in this? 

GESSLER:  Well, I think that just sort of shows that they’re really trying to sneak something through under the radar screen, trying to avoid scrutiny.  And here’s the other thing:  early in this last session, you know, you heard them talk about collaboration and consensus and cooperation.  Remember that?  You know?  That’s what they talked about at the beginning of the session. And they’ve not done that at all. And here’s a perfect example where they’ve got a highly partisan agenda – a very extreme one—trying to jam it through at the last minute, and freezing out anyone who might disagree with them. 

KELLEY:   Well, they say that elections have consequences, but if you are able to manipulate the election process in some way, [laughs] I mean, that takes that to a different level, then, doesn’t it?

GESSLER:  Yeah.  That’s for sure.  And you know, elections have consequences but at the same time, I think everyone has a responsibility to govern responsibly.  And when it comes to elections, you know, we want to make it easy to vote, tough to cheat. 

KELLEY:   Yeah.

GESSLER:  And we’ve done that in Colorado.  It is easy to vote.  We’ve got great turnout.  We did spectacularly this last election cycle.  And we’re doing a better job than before as far as making it tough to cheat.  This sort of ruins that whole balance.

KELLEY:   Well, you know, you’re vote is our only way as a citizenry, to have accountability.  If people collectively disagree with something, then they can let their voices be known through the vote.  But you’re saying that this bill, in its current form, here,  – and it’s not even being really debated, here.  You’re being excluded from the discussions.  This bill would really it open it up for fraud.  That’s very, very disturbing.  What can anybody do?   

GESSLER:  Well, I think there’s two things people can do.  One, talk to your state legislator.  You know, talk to your state legislator immediately about this.  And the second, talk to your County Clerk and Recorder about it, too.  Because, I know that the head of the Clerk and Recorders’ Association has been part of this whole deal – to write this bill.  And I know that there’s Clerks and Recorders that are behind it.  I don’t know exactly who they are.  And I know it includes some Republicans.  And they’re sort of keeping a low profile.  They don’t want people to know their involvement.  And what I think people need to do is call the Clerks and Recorders, and call their legislators and demand to know where they stand on this issue.  And hold them accountable.

KELLEY:   All right.  And you can use the ammunition to say, “Look, why should we change?  Colorado saw one of the highest—in fact, third in the nation in voter participation, what’s the reason for this?  And I’ll be anxious to hear the answer, when we talk to the other side, as well.  So, who has introduced this bill?

GESSLER:  Well, no one has introduced it yet, that I’m aware of.  Now, remember, I haven’t even seen it yet.

KELLEY:   Ah!  Okay! 

GESSLER:  I hear – I hear through the grapevine that it’s 120 pages, right now.  Um, so it’s sort of a massive re-write of elections. And uh—

KELLEY:   I get it.  Uh, yeah, we’re—

GESSLER:  I’m trying to get my hands on it. 

KELLEY:   This is what this email that I got:  “…working on a major election administration bill.”  So they’re working on it.  It hasn’t even been brought out at all yet, no sponsors. Okay.  Very interesting.  Secretary Gessler, thanks for coming on. 

GESSLER:  Thank you. 

KELLEY:   Appreciate it.  Have a good day, sir.

GESSLER:  You, too.