Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler has been really upset about Colorado's new election law, which basically mandates that everyone be given a variety of voting options, like mail-in ballots and easy voter registration options.
Gessler has said additional voter conveniences aren't necessary and, besides, the law is an invitation for voter fraud -- despite scant evidence to support this.
But Gessler, who just announced that he's running for governor against Democrat John Hickenlooper, ratcheted up his rhetoric during recent radio interview, saying the new law allows you to vote anywhere you want, even if you don't live there.
"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 told KNUS talk-show host Steve Kelley. Listen to Gessler on KNUS radio 9-18-13.
This isn't true, as Gessler's own office has pointed out, and I'll get into more details below.
But even if it were true, what kind of Secretary of State wouldn't bother to tell people, not to do it! Why didn't Gessler say, hey, in America, you vote where you live? That's what representative government is all about. Gessler may think it's absurd but he didn't even denounce a conservative activist who lives in Boulder but voted in Colorado Springs.
So Gessler was not only wrong about the residency requirements of the voting law, but his response to his own misinterpretation of the law is ethically ugly, to put it mildly.
With respect to the facts, Gessler's belief that you can vote anywhere you want 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's residence is his or her primary home to which he or she, whenever absent, has the present intent of returning," the election rule stated.
This residency rule was part of a set of guidelines for a Colorado recall election that also included a measure, 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's it's-okay-to-vote-anywhere-you-want line.
And, re-focusing on the bigger picture, you need training in the folks in Alice in Wonderland to assert that Colorado's new election law, which had bipartisan support from Democrats and Republicans across the state, allows you to vote anywhere you want in Colorado, regardless of where you live. It's felony voter fraud to do so.
And it's Mad Hatter-like for Secretary of State, our state top election official, to say you can vote anywhere, especially when his own office contradicted him in rules promulgated last month.