Colorado clerks blast Gessler over registration, ballot issues

Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler

Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler

DENVER — The day before the deadline to register to vote in the upcoming election, many of Colorado’s county clerks blasted Secretary of State Scott Gessler in a harsh, four-page letter citing a “cumbersome list of issues.”

Gessler, a Republican nicknamed the “Honey Badger” by Democrats convinced he’s using his office to advance a partisan agenda to disenfranchise minorities under the guise of a crackdown on voter fraud, is in the midst of a voter registration drive that he hopes will be the largest in state history.

But among the concerns expressed by the clerks is that software aimed at enabling people to register to vote from their smartphones and tablets didn’t work, and that 800 registrations submitted via mobile applications in September didn’t go through.

A Gessler spokesman, Andrew Cole, told the Associated Press Monday that the office made a mistake but had corrected it in time so that those voters can still register ahead of Tuesday’s deadline.

While Gessler has said such applications were intended to increase voter registration, clerks have been concerned that the Secretary of State’s office is actually impeding voter registration, and ignoring their concerns.

“Although there have been a few instances where we have found common ground on these new policy matters, we are concerned there are far more where clerks’ concerns have been dismissed without consideration,” the clerks wrote in the letter.

The clerks are also concerned about the ballot delivery system set up to allow overseas voters to download a ballot through the Secretary of State’s website.

‘”The system was not properly tested,” the clerks wrote, “and recently it was discovered that anyone could download print, vote and return a ballot to be counted.

“If the counties had not discovered this error, the impact to voters and the election would have been quite serious.”