From Florida to Pennsylvania, Republican officials have launched an all-out effort to steal the 2012 presidential election for Mitt Romney. They are using every tactic imaginable at their disposal - from purging eligible citizens off voter rolls to implementing discriminatory voter ID laws - to disenfranchise thousands of voters in battleground states.
Colorado has emerged as the latest front in the Republican scheme to disenfranchise voters. Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, a Republican, has taken a page straight out of Katherine Harris' and Rick Scott's Florida playbook of voter suppression by sending ominous and legalistic letters to thousands of voters in Colorado, questioning their eligibility to vote.
Gessler targeted "suspected non-citizens" who applied for a driver's license with a non-citizen document, even though it is "entirely possible to apply for a license before becoming a citizen and before registering to vote." Gessler's tactics appear to be nothing more than another Republican attempt to suppress anti-Romney votes in a crucial battleground state.
Tell Attorney General Eric Holder: Immediately suspend and investigate Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler's efforts to purge eligible citizens from the voter rolls in Colorado.
The facts indicate that Gessler's voter purging attempt in Colorado disproportionately targeted Democrats, the same as Rick Scott's attempt in Florida. So far Gessler's politically motivated search hasn't turned up any non-citizens who voted in previous elections. In fact, the records show that 88 percent of the so-called "suspected non-citizens" run through a federal database by Gessler's office are U.S. citizens.
What is happening in Colorado is the same old story of Republicans using the irrational fear of "voter fraud" as cover while they work to disenfranchise eligible voters. The truth is, voter fraud is exceedingly rare. More Americans are struck by lightning than commit voter fraud. As noted by legal scholar Jeffrey Toobin:
As many independent studies have found, "voter fraud" is a cure in search of a disease. There is no significant voter-fraud problem in the United States. Rather, these laws are transparent attempts by Republican majorities to stifle and suppress the number of minorities and poor people (mostly Democrats) who go to the polls.
The real problem, the one that can affect the outcome of our elections if we're not vigilant, is voter suppression. Which is exactly what Gessler appears to be engaging in as part of a large-scale Republican crusade to suppress participation by thousands of Democratic voters in the 2012 presidential election.
As the top election official in Colorado, Gessler should be trying to help more eligible voters participate in the democratic process, not disenfranchising new citizens who have worked for years to become part of the American civic process. And he certainly should not be disenfranchising U.S. citizens for the explicit purpose of swinging the battleground state of Colorado to Romney's column in November.Tell Attorney General Eric Holder: Immediately suspend and investigate Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler's efforts to purge eligible citizens from the voter rolls in Colorado.
The Justice Department has jurisdiction to investigate any partisan voter purging under the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) if it is done within 90 days of a federal election. Gessler's reported partisan voter purging in Colorado falls within that 90-day time frame.
Additionally, while Colorado is not covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires certain states with a history of racial discrimination to have changes to their voting practices and procedures precleared, Attorney General Holder has indicated that the Justice Department could pursue investigations against non-Section 5 states in order to "stop intentional - deliberate - attempts to limit voting rights." The Justice Department has already launched such an investigation targeting voter ID practices in non-Section 5 state Pennsylvania.
We cannot let Colorado or any other crucial battleground state of 2012 become the Florida of 2000. We can't let that nightmare play out again. Romney and President Barack Obama are locked in a tight election race which could very well be decided by Colorado's 9 electoral votes.
Urge Attorney General Holder to investigate the Republican efforts to purge voters in Colorado today.
Thank you for all you do to protect the integrity of our Democracy.
- Attorney General Eric Holder
Immediately suspend and investigate Secretary of State Scott Gessler's efforts to purge eligible citizens from the voter rolls in Colorado.
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