Denver allows “check box” voters to fix registrations, Coffman denounces action

Denver County Clerk and Recorder Stephanie O’Malley has defied Secretary of State Mike Coffman by devising a plan to let some voters with incomplete registrations fix their forms and vote regular ballots on Election Day.

O’Malley’s office has taken “extraordinary measures,” as Wednesday’s news release says, to absorb the so-called “check box” voters. Several thousand individuals statewide have been saddled with an “incomplete” designation for failing to check a box on their registration forms indicating that they would be using the last four digits of their Social Security numbers — rather than a state ID or driver’s license number — as identification. Coffman has refused to provide relief to these voters. The “check box” crowd can still vote provisionally. But unless the voters fix their their forms eventually, the provisional ballots will be tossed.

In addition to sending letters to 1,400 “check box” voters urging them to cure before Election Day, Denver County has allowed these individuals to fix their registrations at the polls and vote by regular ballot.

“After consulting with the Denver City Attorney’s Office it was determined that we would be
within the law in having a voter cure this problem at their polling place on Election Day,” O’Malley said in a press release. “In September, we made several appeals to the Colorado Secretary of State to reconsider his ruling that a voter’s registration is incomplete due to their failure to check an ID box. We feel 1,400-plus voters should not be denied an Election Day ballot due to what is essentially a voter’s technical error.”

Denver County is not the only county to admit “check box” voters. Larimer County and Jefferson County absorbed these individuals into their voter rolls as well, much to Coffman’s chagrin.

Coffman released a statement saying that Denver “was irresponsible” not to run the plan by him, according to the Denver Post. He said he intends to ask Attorney General John Suthers about the issue; Suthers’ office has backed him in his “check box” stance in the past.

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Naomi Zeveloff

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