Under a new law passed by Democrats last year, voters in Colorado can cast a ballot in any race in the state, regardless of where they live.
Independence Institute President Jon Caldara cast a blank ballot in the recall election of former Senate President John Morse in September, even though Caldara lives 100 miles away in Boulder. He did it to illustrate what he said is a critical flaw in a new election law that passed last year without any Republican support.
The new law allows voters to register as late as Election Day, which leaves no time for election workers to verify a voter’s residency. Voters need only to declare their intentions to live in the district in which they’re voting.
Caldara put the new system to the test by “leasing” a room in a friend’s house in Morse’s district. He then voted and later changed his mind about relocating, opting to keep his residency in Boulder.
A three-month investigation by the state attorney general’s office into possible voter fraud found that charges against Caldara are “not warranted or viable.”
“It is now legal to move voters around during elections to where their vote is most leveraged,” Caldara wrote in an op-ed in the Denver Post on Saturday.
“[T]his new law legalizes moving voters around like chess pieces on Election Day to the district where their vote is most needed. Now a voter who merely ‘intends’ to make a different district his home can vote in that district,” he wrote.
“And get this: Any enforcement of ‘voter fraud,’ even if it could be caught, happens after the ballots are all counted and recorded. Under this same-day voter registration law, the vagabond voter is handed a ballot when and where he registers. His ballot goes into the ballot box and there’s no yanking it back out.”
The new law caused many headaches for county clerks overseeing the recall of Morse and Angela Giron, another Democratic state senator, both of whom were successfully recalled for their support of Colorado’s new gun laws. The new law also requires mail-in ballots only, but the timeline for sending them to voters conflicted with part of the Colorado Constitution. The secretary of state’s office had to issue emergency orders on how the election was to be conducted.
But Caldara says the biggest threat is the loophole he exposed, writing that “the winner of future elections in Colorado will be the campaign that has the most buses.”
In his column, he appealed to Gov. John Hickenlooper and the state legislature to repeal the law.
“If they don’t, we all have the responsibility to learn about our new voter rights and exercise them fully.”
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