Colorado election snafu roundup: Are we ready for Nov. 4?

(Photo/Glynnis Ritchie, Flickr)

(Photo/Glynnis Ritchie, Flickr)

It’s not just you. Colorado is looking a bit iffy these days in terms of election preparedness. And with less than three weeks to go until Nov. 4, things just keep getting stickier. But wading through the constantly breaking election muck can be a less-than-savory experience. So please, put away your wellies and let the Colorado Independent guide you. Each Friday until Election Day, we’ll publish a roundup of the week’s big news related to election bungles around the state. If you’ve got news or opinions to share, please add them in the comments section below. After all, we’re not as scientific as, say, Colorado’s new electronic voting machines. Read on for the roundup:

“No vote for you”: Coffman purges voters past 90-day federal deadline

Secretary of State Mike Coffman was lambasted by voting rights experts and others this week for his inaction on a boiling voter registration problem. Thousands of Coloradans made the same mistake on the new voter registration form, neglecting to check a small box indicating that they did not have a state ID or driver’s license. In spite of mounting pressure, Coffman won’t absorb the incomplete registrations into the voter rolls. County clerks, meanwhile, have been scrambling to contact the so-called “check box” applicants so they can cure their forms before Election Day.

Seriously, “no vote for you”: Suthers backs up Coffman

Attorney General John Suthers entered the voter purge fray this week, backing the Secretary of State’s office in canceling more than 2,400 duplicate voter registrations in recent months, according to the Denver Post. Coffman sought the opinion after the New York Times published a damning report last week, maintaining that several states had illegally removed voters from the rolls 90 days before the election. Suthers said that Coffman’s purge was cool with him since duplicate removals don’t keep anyone from voting. But Colorado Democratic Party Chair Pat Waak slammed Republican Suthers, saying “administrative snafus” will indeed suppress the vote.

Son of “no vote for you”: Balink tangles with student voters

Democrats in Colorado Springs were seething this week with the news that El Paso County’s Republican Clerk and Recorder, Bob Balink, issued yet another memorandum asserting that out-of-state students are ineligible to vote. Balink sent a letter to Colorado College President Richard Celeste’s office three weeks ago, warning students off of registering. But the latest brouhaha has to do with a legal opinion that he forwarded to a Colorado College journalism student who inquired about the issue. Among other claims, the letter says that out-of-state students could “jeopardize” their parents financially by registering to vote in Colorado. Matt Farrauto, the spokesman for the Colorado Democratic Party, called the letter “ominous, scary and intimidating.”

Daughter of “no vote for you”: Addressee unknown, return to sender

Word surfaced this week that an organization called Women’s Voices Women Vote mailed tens of thousands of voter registration forms and mail-in ballot applications with the wrong return address to Colorado recipients. According to the Rocky Mountain News, the organization, which is devoted to shoring up the single female vote, sent out mailers with the secretary of state’s address instead of county clerks’ addresses. Rather than toss the forms, Coffman’s office forwarded them to the right location.

Fighting “no vote for you”: Elections experts strike back

National elections experts sounded alarms late this week with a report showing Colorado is unprepared to pull off the election. The study — conducted by the Brennan Center for Justice, Common Cause and Verified Voting — reviewed practices in 50 states. Among other problems, Colorado was critiqued for its lack of planning in the case that electronic voting machines fail. Overall, it ranked as one of the 10 least-prepared states in three of four categories. Coffman challenged the study’s findings and called its timing “suspect,” according to the Denver Post.

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Naomi Zeveloff

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