Voters targeted by Colo. mostly Dems, unaffiliated
September 21, 2012
DENVER (AP) – Democrats and unaffiliated voters make up the vast majority of the 141 people Colorado election officials say are not citizens and illegally registered to vote.
Information provided by the office of Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler shows 60 of the suspected non-citizens are unaffiliated and another 58 are Democrats. Another 17 are Republicans and six belong to minor parties.
The 141 voters are .004 percent of the state’s nearly 3.5 million voters, a figure Democrats and voting advocacy groups say shows proves there’s no widespread voter fraud but that Gessler said shows a vulnerability in the voter rolls. He forwarded the 141 names to county clerks for any potential challenges at the polls.
Gessler has said 35 of the 141 voters have previously cast ballots, but some voters on the list maintain they’re U.S. citizens or claim they’ve never voted.
Critics question Gessler’s political motives. They argue that Democrats and unaffiliated voters are the most likely to be challenged in this hotly contested battleground state.
“People can compare political parties, age, gender, geography or voting methods and make any conclusions they like,” Gessler spokesman Rich Coolidge said Friday. “Fact is that’s their right. But any accusations leveled at Gessler for assumed motivations are false and reckless.”
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Gessler arrived at the 141 number after checking a federal immigration database. He initially sent letters to 3,903 voters, asking them to verify their status or voluntarily withdraw from the rolls. Of those, 482 responded affirming their citizenship, 1,011 had moved, and others didn’t respond.
The letters went to 1,566 Democrats, 1,794 unaffiliated voters, 486 Republicans, and the remainder to voters registered to minor parties.
Florida, another swing state, conducted a search similar to Colorado’s and found 207 registered voters believed to be non-citizens.
Gessler and other Republican election chiefs say their goal is to maintain accurate voter rolls.