El Paso County Democrats claim voter disenfranchisement

Colorado College, a liberal arts school in Colorado Springs, is oft seen as a cradle of progressive thought in one of the most conservative cities in the United States. In recent years, that designation has caused some tension in the greater community. This week, the antagonism came to a head with State Sen. John Morse (D-Colorado Springs) accusing Republican Clerk and Recorder Bob Balink of deliberately trying to stop Colorado College students, many of whom come from out-of-state, from voting.

According to The Rocky Mountain News, El Paso County elections manager Liz Olson sent a memo to the president’s office at Colorado College saying that students from out-of-state whose parents claim them as dependents on tax forms cannot vote on campus. That notion later turned out to be untrue.

“For some reason our county clerk is focused on making sure people can’t vote,” Morse told the Rocky.

The Clerk and Recorder’s office has since reviewed the memo and decided that it had misinterpreted the law regarding out-of-state students.

But this isn’t the first time that El Paso County Democrats have blamed Republicans for targeting Colorado College students. In 2006, Kyle Fisk, a Republican up against Mike Merrifield (D-Manitou Springs), showed up at the Colorado College precinct, located in the district he was running in, and told election judges that contested ballots should be tossed out. Democrats cried foul, saying that Fisk violated the law by attempting to act as a “poll watcher” in his own unsuccessful election.

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