Colorado Election Law Dispute Leads to Lawsuit

Sep 21, 2011 - LegalZoom News Sources
The Colorado secretary of state has sued Denver County over election procedures.

Colorado Secretary of State Paul Gessler recently filed a lawsuit against Denver County, alleging the county clerk's office is violating state election law by mailing ballots to inactive voters.

According to Colorado law, if a state resident is registered to vote but missed casting a ballot in the most recent election, he or she is classified as inactive. Regarding the distribution of mail-in ballots, the law says ballots must be sent to active voters.

Gessler's lawsuit contends the law means ballots should only be sent to active voters. Denver County Clerk Debra Johnson plans to mail ballots to 255,000 inactive voters, which Gessler says is not an authorized procedure.

In response to the lawsuit, Johnson said, "The City and County of Denver has consistently provided all eligible voters with ease of access to the voting franchise and we plan to continue doing so."

Pueblo Clerk and Recorder Gilbert "Bo" Ortiz told the Pueblo Chieftain the lawsuit is partisan wrangling between the Republican secretary of state and the Democratic county clerk.

Republicans are seeking to change election law in Colorado's neighbor to the northeast, Nebraska. Under current law, the state's electoral votes can be split in a presidential election, as they were in 2008, when President Obama won the Omaha-based 2nd District. Republican lawmakers since have proposed a winner-take-all system for the Cornhusker State.