Elections, Gold Dome, Jon Caldara, Politics

Know your new Colorado voting rights

Home is where your heart is. And now in Colorado, you can vote anywhere on Election Day that your heart happens to take you.

How do we know this? Well, because I’m not going to jail. Well … at least I’m not going to jail for voting where my heart brought me.

icon_op_edAnti-gun legislation might have been the big story during the last Colorado legislative session, but the most dangerous bill passed was a revamp of our already weak voting laws.

Colorado is the poster child for sloppy elections. Not only is a cable TV or water bill a valid form of voter identification here, but we’re the only state in the country that has both all mail-in ballots and same-day voter registration.

Under the new law, our ballots are flung through the mail like grocery-store coupons, whether you want them delivered to you that way or not. As the news site CompleteColorado.com reported, ballots in the last election were readily found in trash cans and apartment mail rooms, just ready to be harvested.

But even more disturbing, this 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.

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.

So, the winner of future elections in Colorado will be the campaign that has the most buses. The team best at playing this shell-game controls government.

To prove that very point, I “moved” from Boulder to Colorado Springs and cast a ballot in the John Morse recall election last September. I then “moved” back to Boulder shortly afterward. Legal complaints were immediately filed against me for voter fraud.

I took a couple extra easy precautions, even though the law doesn’t require it. I signed a simple lease, pulled free off the Internet, for a room in a friend’s house where I spent the night. And I went online to change my address at the DMV. That’s it. No fuss, no muss, no expense.

Citing the “ambiguities” in the new law, the Colorado attorney general’s office earler this month announced that, after a three-month investigation, a criminal prosecution against me is “not warranted or viable.” This announcement is a surprise to no one because they can’t prosecute you for following the law.

All of this proves a simple point: It is now legal to move voters around during elections to where their vote is most leveraged.

As the new session starts, I hope the legislature and Gov. John Hickenlooper will repeal the obscene same-day registration law. If they don’t, we all have the responsibility to learn about our new voter rights and exercise them fully.

Toward that end, the Independence Institute will accelerate our BringInTheVote.com educational campaign to teach all Coloradans how to legally “bring in” their vote to the district of their choice.

None of us wrote these unmanageable voting rules, but they are now the rules of elections in Colorado. They are your new voting rights, so you had better use them. Others certainly will.

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.  This op-ed originally appeared in the Denver Post.



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