If these numbers are correct, we can imagine no more compelling repudiation of Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s lawsuit to stop the delivery of mail ballots to registered voters flagged as “inactive” for not participating in the 2010 elections. From the press release we just got from Pueblo County Clerk Gilbert Ortiz:
Pueblo County Clerk & Recorder Gilbert “Bo” Ortiz announced today that the so-called “inactive voters” are participating at a much higher rate than expected, with only a few hours left to cast a ballot for today’s election.
Colorado defines an inactive voter as a registered voter who did not vote in the last general election (2010) and has not done anything to reactivate their voting status.
As of close of business Monday evening, 16.24% of the inactive mail ballots had been returned to the Clerk’s office. That’s well above the statewide average of 3% of inactive ballots returned in recent elections, according to the Secretary of State’s office.
About (17,000) voters fall into the inactive category in Pueblo County. Inactive voters made up 8.9% of the total votes cast in the election so far. [Pols emphasis]
“This means that (2,640) Pueblo voters responded and will have a significant impact on this year’s election. The bottom line is that all registered voters had the opportunity to cast a vote. And the more people who participate, the stronger our community,” said Ortiz.
Pueblo’s Council District 2 posted significant inactive voter numbers, with 23% (680 voters) of the votes cast by inactive voters…
Our understanding is that Pueblo’s city council District 2 has a higher percentage of minority voters, as well as low-income voters–further underscoring the point made by the Pueblo clerk, as well as Denver Clerk Debra Johnson, about the communities disproportionately impacted by Gessler’s order to not send ballots to these voters. You can’t say that 9% of the countywide vote total, or fully 23% of the total in one council district, is an insignificant percentage of the vote. And even though Gessler claimed repeatedly that there would be no problem with not sending these ballots, and they could still participate by taking action to “fix” their status…no, folks.
If this is correct, that debate is over. These are decisive numbers.
And with no small amount of trepidation we must ask again as we’ve asked before: what about all the other counties? What if we extrapolate these inactive voter ballot returns from Pueblo County across every county in Colorado who chose not to mail ballots to “inactive-failed to vote” registered voters this year? How many thousands who didn’t vote might have voted?
If a chill isn’t running down your spine, right now, you’re not paying attention.