Archive for May 12th, 2013

Banana Democrats

There’s an area of Colorado, near Buena Vista in the south-central part of the state, known as the “Banana Belt” for its temperate climate.   It’s unknown if State Sen. Greg Brophy (R-Wray) had that in mind when he claimed that HB13-1303 will turn the state into a “banana republic,” but his comments remain accurate nonetheless.  The new law will, among other things, lower the residency requirement to 22 days, pre-register 16-year-olds when the get their drivers licenses, replace precinct voting with vote-by-mail and the occasional vote center, and permit same-day registration to cast regular ballots.  It will require that mail ballots be sent to all registered voters, and will do away with the “Inactive Voter” status, which voters attain by not voting for several consecutive elections.

To many Republicans, this one included, these changes sound like a stamped, self-addressed invitation to vote fraud.  Vince Carroll of the Denver Post has detailed some of the problems with the bill.

The bill would retain all the current means of registration – including being able to register using a utility bill and the last four digits of your Social Security number the license plate you saw outside, and then to proceed immediately to vote, using a regular ballot, not a provisional one set aside for after the registration was verified.  County clerks had argued in favor of the bill, claiming that the SCORE system currently used to track voter registrations could easily be expanded to statewide use, and that once a statewide system is set up, there will be little trouble tracking voter registrations.

The fact is, the system we have now is manifestly riddled with bad registrations, old registrations, and dead people.  And the very same people who wrote this bill, in collusion with the legislative Democrats, are the ones who not only stand in the way of cleaning up the rolls, but have tried to pry open the system with a judicial crowbar in the past.

I’ve been directly involved in a number of campaigns that involved going door-to-door for signatures.  I don’t even bother with apartments, since the odds of the registrant matching the resident are somewhat south of hitting a given number on a roulette wheel.  The voter rolls for these precincts are literally (not figuratively) filled with bad registrations.  And it’s no good saying it’s not a problem because we’re only 6 months away from the last election.  Since Colorado routinely has odd-year elections for ballot initiatives and school boards, we’re also only 6 months away from the next one.

The groups that were called into help write the bill – notably not including the Secretary of State’s office – have, in the past, sued the Secretary of State for ridding the voter rolls of dead people, criticized him for trying to get non-citizens off the registrations rolls, and filed suit in 2004 seeking to permit anyone to vote the full ballot anywhere, without any form of identification.  In the decision in that case, the judge noted that:

But at the moment, if I were to try to design a system that maximizes the chances that fraudulent and ineligible registrants will be able to become fraudulent voters, I’m not sure I could do a better job than what Plaintiffs are asking me to do in this case—allow voters to vote wherever they want without showing any identification.

The entire opinion is worth reading, and I’ve quoted salient paragraphs from it at length before.  For the moment, bear in the mind what that quote says about the character of Common Cause and the other co-conspirators to this hijacking of our electoral system.

The Democrats who wrote and voted for this bill have to be well aware of these fact.  These are elected state representatives and state senators.  Every last one of them – especially the Democrats who tend to come from urban areas – is a professional politician who got elected by working these very precincts.  It beggars the imagination to believe that they are so unacquainted with their districts that they don’t know how detached the voter rolls are from reality.  And that’s now, before these changes are put in place.

The only conclusions to draw are that the Democrats who voted for this bill are at best unconcerned about the integrity of our elections, and at worst see elections as a whole not as contests to be won, but as boxes to be checked off in the ratification of their power.

We are all from Buena Vista now.

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