After Republican Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler began backpedaling from his controversial plan to hold hearings challenging the voter status of over 141 residents, Congressman Gonzalez (D-Texas) issued a statement berating Gessler for wasting taxpayer dollars on "wild goose chases."
Last month Gessler took heat from the ACLU of Colorado, registered Democrats and independents for sending out nearly 4,000 letters -- the vast majority of whom had registered as Democrats and independents -- asking them to prove their citizenship or voluntarily withdraw their registration even before he received access to a federal database allowing him to check citizenship.
Around this time, a website entitled Gessler Watch was created with a list on its homepage of top five Gessler scandals and Gonzalez, along with Congressman Robert Brady, wrote a letter to the Department of Justice asking for an investigation into Gessler's actions.
In a statement, Congressman Gonzalez said:
Last spring, Colorado Secretary of State Gessler was celebrated by the Republican leadership of the Committee on House Administration for his shocking claim that he had found 4,000 non-citizens on the voter rolls in Colorado. Now, Mr. Gessler’s office admits that he has found ‘no confirmed non-citizens.’ He recklessly accused Americans of fraud and denied their citizenship.
While I challenged Mr. Gessler’s claims last year, it’s important that we pay particular attention to what has just happened. Once again, loudly trumpeted claims of evidence of voter fraud have proven to be baseless. Obvious flaws, like those I pointed out at the time, are ignored, and innocent people are blamed for the clerical errors of others. In spite of this record, every new claim – whether in South Carolina or Florida (using the same discredited practice as Colorado) or Texas – receives unwarranted media attention despite the fact that you’re more likely to be struck by lightning than to find the fraud that voter ID laws and similar measures are supposed to stop. They can’t find this fraud because it doesn’t exist.
These facts may not be important to people like Mr. Gessler or Florida Governor Rick Scott, but they matter to me. When government officials abuse their positions, waste millions in taxpayer dollars on these wild goose chases, and, most importantly, threaten the constitutionally protected and guaranteed right to vote of American citizens, the rest of us must stand up. Our forefathers fought a revolution for the right to vote for their representatives. Within living memory, men and women have died for that right. When someone threatens any citizen’s right to vote, every American owes those martyrs the duty of standing up and saying, ‘No. We will not let you disfranchise our fellow citizens.’
Watch Gessler be questioned by Congressman Charles Gonzalaz above.