Jon Caldara, the president of the Independence Institute, is the target of a criminal complaint submitted to the Colorado attorney general’s office.
Caldara made headlines by switching his voter registration from Boulder to Colorado Springs — roughly 100 miles away — so that he could “vote” in the Sept. 10 recall election. He cast a blank ballot.
But his larger point was to show that a new Democratic-sponsored election reform law that allowed him to do so was ripe for abuse. It allows people to register as late as Election Day and to affirm that they intend to make the district their permanent home, even if they “moved” to the district that day.
Caldara and others have pointed out that such a promise is impossible to enforce. Shortly before the election, he rented a room in a friend’s house in Colorado Springs, told elections officials that he planned to make it his permanent home and was allowed to cast a ballot.
“I’ll see what the town is like,” Caldara told reporters when he voted. “I’ve heard great things about it. I’m looking forward to checking out Colorado Springs.”
Later, however, he changed his mind and decided to continue living in Boulder, according to The Colorado Independent. The website reported that recent floods convinced him to keep his Boulder residence in order to be close to his children.
“Not only did I intend to move to Colorado Springs, I did move to Colorado Springs,” he’s quoted as saying in a statement responding to the article.
At least one person doubts his sincerity — John Morse’s campaign manager, Christy Le Lait, who filed a complaint with the local district attorney, who forwarded it to the Colorado Attorney General John Suthers.
“Mr. Caldera’s statements that he is going to ‘see what the town is like’ and is ‘looking forward to checking out’ the city are entirely inconsistent with a ‘habitation (that) is fixed’ and a ‘present intention of returning after a departure or absence’ from Colorado Springs,” the complaint reads.
Le Lait wants Caldara investigated for perjury, giving false information and registering to vote where he’s not allowed.
In a related move, The Colorado Springs Gazette used Caldara as an example of why Gov. John Hickenlooper should convene a special session of the state legislature to fix the voting law before the next election in November.
“We know the law can be abused, which is obvious to anyone who reads it,” reads a Gazette editorial. “Any question about the biggest flaw in [the bill] was eliminated when Jon Caldara, a Boulder resident and president of Colorado’s Independence Institute, cast a blank ballot in the District 11 recall to make a point.”
“Imagine how many special-interest votes could be cast stealthily if election officials can’t even stop an act of civil disobedience committed in broad daylight with cameras rolling,” the editorial continued. “Heck, it wasn’t even real disobedience. Some lawyers argue the law allowed it.”
Whether that last point is true remains to be seen. Suthers’ spokeswoman wouldn’t comment on the complaint about Caldara to the Colorado Independent, other than to confirm that the office had received it.
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