THE BLOG

Battle For The West: Colorado Voter Suppression Suit Settled; Provisional Ballots To Be Accepted

11/30/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Colorado Secretary of State's office has settled a lawsuit brought by voters' rights groups and the SEIU over what they claimed were illegal purges from the voter roles. The agreement allows the suspect voters to cast provisional ballots and essentially jump to the front of the line when verifying provisional ballots after the election.

"Voters on the list shall be presumed to be eligible and their ballots will be counted," the agreement says, according to the Denver Post. "Only upon a showing by clear and convincing evidence that a voter is not eligible shall a provisional ballot be rejected by the county."

The two parties reached the out-of-court agreement Wednesday, but it looked like the presiding judge was leaning toward the plaintiffs.

"I think there are places where the state went out of bounds on removal of these names," Senior U.S. District Judge John L. Kane, Jr., said, according to the Post.

The New York Times first reported on the purges in Colorado and other states earlier this month, and soon after election officials began disputing the claims in the story.

Before the agreement in Colorado was announced, alt-weekly Denver Westword featured an online interview with BBC journalist Greg Palast, who co-wrote a recent Rolling Stone article on Republican voter suppression tactics and has been appearing with voter protections advocate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr, in the weeks leading up to the election to put voters and poll watchers on high alert.

Palast claims former Secretary of State Donetta Davidson, a Republican, and her Democratic Republican successor Mike Coffman purged 19.4 percent of Colorado's registered voters since 2004.

"Are you really telling me that one in five voters are fraudulent, illegal voters who are trying to steal the election?" Palast said in Westword. "No, they're not. Is the state really rife with fraudulent voters? No, it's not. It's a complete, absolute con, and they know it. Davidson and Mike Coffman have been running a purge-and-block operation."

---
For more Battle for the West news, click here