Colorado’s Democratic-dominated state legislature is hoping to fix a glaring loophole in last year’s election reform law that allows voters to move to — and vote in — new districts as late as Election Day as long as they promise to stay.
But there’s no mechanism for enforcing this promise, leaving so-called “gypsy voters” free to return to their original districts after their vote has been cast.
The measure to close the loophole through higher penalties for voter fraud has been dubbed the “Caldara bill” after Independence Institute president Jon Caldara, who publicly exposed the troubles with the new law during last September’s recall election of former Senate President John Morse.
Caldara, a resident of Boulder, rented a room from a friend in Morse’s district in Colorado Springs and cast a blank ballot in the election. He then changed his mind about living in Colorado Springs and moved back to Boulder.
“Keep in mind, I didn’t ‘intend’ to move to Colorado Springs, I actually moved there,” he told the Colorado Observer. “Who knows where I might move again?”
Although liberal groups called for Caldara to be prosecuted, the state attorney general didn’t press charges, saying they weren’t “warranted or viable.”
At last month’s Senate Affairs Committee hearing, Democratic bill sponsor Sen. Jesse Ulibarri, made it clear the fix-it bill is a result of Caldara’s stunt.
“There’s one high-profile case of someone who I believe misrepresented where his sole legal residence was, and this enhances the penalty,” he is quoted as saying in the Observer.
The article notes that Republican lawmakers — who unanimously opposed the election reform bill last year — are generally resisting the urge to gloat over what they’d long said was a mistake in the Democrats’ legislation.
But Caldara himself said he was “flattered” at the bill to fix it.
“It would have been nice if they’d just listened to us last year in the first place instead of having this mad rush to create their permanent electoral victories,” Caldara told the Observer. “It was just the arrogance of the last session of grabbing as much as they could while they could that just got them so very sloppy. And it’s not just sloppy, it was dangerous what they did.”
“My feeling is that if my move helped to rectify even a small part of [the election reform law], then I need to move to a lot more places a lot more often,” he continued.
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