Battle Over Voter Status Heats Up in Colorado

The battle over Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s order that county clerks save money by not sending ballots to “inactive” voters has heated to a boil. Gessler’s office has filed suit against Denver City and County, and Pueblo County is joining the suit as a defendant against Gessler.

According to a report in the Colorado Independent, Ortiz complied last week to the Secretary of State’s orders not to send ballots to soldiers out of state who are registered Pueblo County voters but did not vote in 2010.

“Pueblo County will honor Secretary Gessler’s order,” said Ortiz in a press release dated September 30. “But this is not over. Pueblo County is currently weighing our legal options including taking the issue to court. The Secretary of State effectively has denied 64 active military personnel the opportunity to vote.”

The press release from Ortiz goes on to explain that Gessler filed a complaint in court to stop Denver City and County Clerk Debra Johnson from mailing ballots to inactive voters for the November election. “Inactive voters are defined as those who did not vote in the last general election,” the press release stated.

Johnson reportedly disagreed with Gessler’s interpretation of what an inactive voter is and mailed ballots to both active and inactive voters from Denver City and County, in spite of a desist order sent to her by the Secretary of State’s office on September 16. A hearing into the matter is scheduled for Friday.

According to the Pueblo Chieftain, Ortiz did, in fact, opt on Wednesday to join the suit as a defendant, stating that, although there is a traditionally low return of ballots from inactive voters, the issue is giving the voters their chance to vote, particularly military voters who live outside the county.

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