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Group works to increase voter turnout

Lu Snyder

SUMMIT COUNTY – Not everyone thinks election day voter registration would be a good idea.

This week, a group of elected officials, community leaders and citizens gathered in Denver to launch the a statewide partisan effort to increase voter turnout by establishing election day voter registration in Colorado.

“In the last presidential election, over 43 percent of eligible Coloradans did not make it to the polls on election day,” campaign co-chair John Donley said in a press release. “That means that well over 1 million eligible citizens did not make it to the polls.”

According to the Web site – http://www.coloradovoterinitiative

.org – Colorado has one of the most restrictive registration laws. Voters must register 29 days before election, which “prohibits those who are new to the area and those who become interested late in the election, from voting.”

The six states that do allow registration on election day (Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Wyoming) have voter turnout rates up to 15 percent higher than the national average.

Supporters of the initiative believe election day voter registration would encourage both voter registration and election day turnout.

“This sounds like a great idea,” said Summit Greens co-chair Doug Malkan. “It can only encourage more people to turn out and vote.”

Harley Williams, chairman of the Summit County Republican Central Committee, is undecided.

“On the pro side, it would get a lot more people out to vote and I’m definitely an advocate of getting as many people involved as we can in this political process,” Williams said.

Though his group had not taken an official position, he said the main concern he has heard is the potential for voter fraud.

Former chair of the Summit County Democrats, Sandy Greenhut, echoes those concerns.

“I think it’s terrible,” Greenhut said of the initiative. “At least 30 days is a good period of time (to register).”

Greenhut said she is opposed to the idea for several reasons. Election day voter registration would not allow for the checking process necessary to verify one’s U.S. citizenship, or to prevent one from registering and voting in more than one state, she said.

The initiative’s Web site said fraud should not be an issue, explaining the new amendment protections would be more stringent than current voter registration.

Greenhut said she also believes it’s important one live in his or her precinct long enough to vote intelligently on ballot issues.

“I am absolutely, absolutely opposed to this election day registration,” Greenhut said. “I think there needs to be some requirements.”

The campaign kicked off its statewide grassroots signature collection effort this week.

More Information

– For more information on Election Day Voter Registration – contact the Colorado Voter

Initiative at 303-333-VOTE, visit the Web site at

http://www.coloradovoterinitiative.org or send e-mails to

info@coloradovoterinitiative.org


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