At a town hall meeting in Colorado Springs on Thursday, Secretary of State Scott Gessler stuck to a theme he’s used throughout his time in office — voter fraud exists and must be pursued.
Gessler, a Republican, spoke about voter fraud and many other issues with about 40 El Paso County residents at the county Clerk and Recorder’s Office during one of several “listening tours” that he’s holding this month along the Front Range.
Gessler said that possible voter fraud violations are being pursued, and he encouraged residents to report suspicions.
“I have seen cases, and we’re investigating some for this election cycle. And after we run more data, we may find more,” said Gessler, responding to a question from Colorado Springs resident Dan Kay.
Gessler assured 2012 election judge Gary Forander that he is “keenly interested” in cracking down on voter fraud, and asked the crowd to forward any names or leads to his office.
“The more specificity I can have on that, the better. It enables me to take better action,” Gessler said.
El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams added that his office has referred “a number of matters to the (district attorney)” for investigations.
The issue has permeated Gessler tenure since he was elected in 2010, and has become a partisan sticking point between him and Democrats.
But it wasn’t the only issue discussed at Thursday’s meeting. Participants also raised problems with provisional ballots, malfunctioning voting machines, ineffective volunteer training, outdated voter rolls and more.
Division leader Ann Macomber, 65, said that roughly a third of the addresses and names in the voter registration lists she got were incorrect.
“Records were wrong, and it was embarrassing for us,” Macomber told Gessler. “We lose credibility when we walk up to a door and say, ‘Hi, Mrs. Smith,’ and it’s Mrs. Jones.”
Gessler agreed that Colorado’s voter rolls are “sloppy,” but said the problem is that the only way voters are removed from the rolls is if his office gets returned mail from the address, or is directly notified that a person has moved.
Others suggested that there was corruption in the electoral system, and two blind voters said they had no privacy and were directed by election judges on touch screens they couldn’t trust.
“What I’m questioning is the training,” said one. “Nobody told me there wasn’t a keypad involved.”
Mike Maday, the voter protection coordinator for the county Democratic party, criticized Gessler for meeting with the conservative action group True the Vote, and said that undermined the integrity of his office.
“To me, that’s just not an appropriate — maybe legal — but not appropriate tone to set for the chief election officer,” Maday said.
Gessler countered that he had also met with the president of the League of Women Voters for an hour.
“I’ve spoken to groups whenever I’m invited to do that ... I don’t make those distinctions based on ideology,” Gessler said.
“To be frank, members within the Democratic Party tend not to invite me to speak as much as others.”
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