A few weeks ago, Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler made a big deal out of a list of 155 voters that he claimed had likely voted illegally in last year’s presidential election (out of more than 3 million votes cast). But an investigation of the 17 names on the list from Boulder County found that all of them voted legally:
But an investigation by Garnett’s office found that all 17 people were citizens and were able to easily verify their status, the district attorney said Wednesday.
Garnett said the outcome shows Gessler’s emphasis on finding ineligible voters and eliminating them from the voter rolls is a waste of resources and politically motivated.
“Local governments and county clerks do a really good job regulating the integrity of elections, and I’ll stand by that record any day of the week,” Garnett said. “We don’t need state officials sending us on wild goose chases for political reasons.”
Garnett said he believes that Gessler referred the names for prosecution because he made a big deal last summer about possible illegal voting in advance of the November election and had to produce results.
As is always the case in such situations, the list of potential fraud cases was generated with a faulty methodology. Gessler came up with his names by flagging anyone who had used non-citizen ID to apply for a driver’s license and then later voted. But even if they weren’t a citizen when they applied for a driver’s license, sometimes years earlier, that does not mean they weren’t a citizen when they voted. The U.S. averages nearly 700,000 newly naturalized citizens each year. Colorado has about 1.5% of the population, so that would be over 10,000 new citizens from that state each year. That 155 of them may have applied for a driver’s license before becoming a citizen and then voted after becoming a citizen would seem quite reasonable.