UPDATE: A copy of the political stunt letter can be found here.
Out of state Congressional Democrats have now joined the pitched political battle against Secretary of State Scott Gessler, sending a letter to the Obama Department of Justice asking them to investigate Gessler over his lawsuit regarding inactive ballots in Denver. Congressman Robert Brady (D-PA) and Congressman Charles Gonzalez (D-TX) wrote to the Assistant US Attorney General Thomas Perez, asking him to investigate Gessler's lawsuit and copied Colorado Members of Congress, Diana DeGette and Ed Perlmutter.
The issue, of course, will be settled by a Denver judge, not some DC politicians, but that didn't stop them from trying to score a few political points before a judge has the chance to weigh in.
The issue at hand is whether Denver and Pueblo counties are able to mail inactive voters in addition to active voters with ballots for the 2011 off-year election. County clerks begged the Legislature in recent years to allow them to mail only active voters in off year and non major general elections to help save costs. Mailing tens of thousands of ballots that have an almost zero return rate was considered a cost that counties could cut out in tough times. In response to the lobbying, the Legislature passed a law stating that active voters shall be mailed ballots, thus removing the requirement to mail inactive voters.
The inactive voters hadn't voted in a recent election, nor had they responded to mailings asking whether they wanted to stay on the active voter rolls. Should they still want to vote, there will be voting centers and the county clerk's office where they could still cast their vote. No one would be denied their voting rights, the county just wouldn't waste tens of thousands of dollars mailing them. In tough times, that option is key to cash-short counties.
Now Pueblo and Denver want to mail them anyway. Curious that only the Democrat strongholds would choose to mail inactive voters. It's also curious why they copied Ed Perlmutter, who doesn't represent a single precinct in Denver. Someone might want to ask Perlmutter what his role in this political stunt is — or was he just as confused as we were to see his name copied on the letter? It all makes you wonder who is behind this political assault on Secretary Gessler.
On a side note, it’s nice to see DeGette getting involved in any issue regarding her home district, even if she is letting some Pennsylvania Congressman do it. After all, DeGette hasn’t been big on actually talking to her constituents directly.
Gessler sued partially because having different methods of determining who receives a mail ballot makes for a non-uniform voting process. If approved by the court, inactive voters in Denver and Pueblo will receive ballots while inactive voters in other counties will not. Other counties can't be forced to mail inactive voters — their county clerks lobbied for just that right — meaning the Democrat strongholds will have more ballots floating around during the election period.
Seems like an issue for a court to decide. But as Rahm Emanuel has famously said — never let a crisis go to waste. In this election law fight, the Democrats don't want a court to weigh in before they can score some points. They also figure that by pushing the Department of Justice, they can force the judge's hand.
Who is so invested in the ballot this year? Considering the only issue on the statewide ballot is the $3 Billion tax hike known as Prop 103, it's curious this is being made such a big issue right now. The county clerks in Denver and Pueblo have not made such a stink about mailing inactive voters in previous off year elections, as far as we can tell.
When a Democrat was Secretary of State there were no lawsuits regarding the mailing of ballots to inactive voters. That's what makes this whole situation stink of political stunt. We have to wonder where Al Yates and his liberal lackies from Common Cause factor in this whole game. When political stunts are being pulled in the name of liberal outrage, those stooges can never be far away.
We have to wonder also — why do Democrats believe that inactive voters in Denver and Pueblo should get ballots mailed to them, but not in the rest of the state?