With this press release late yesterday, you may consider any remaining pretense dropped:
Following lengthy testimony by Secretary of State Scott Gessler, Republicans on the House Local Government Committee killed SB 109, which would have ended confusion surrounding registered voters who are tagged as “Inactive Failed to Vote” and had bipartisan support from legislators and county clerks alike. After the vote, Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio issued the following statement:
“Colorado’s Republican Leader Scott Gessler has once again prioritized his partisan agenda above the rights of Coloradans to vote. If Scott Gessler is unwilling to fulfill his duties as a non-partisan election officer, the people of Colorado should consider all avenues necessary to remove him as Secretary of State.” [Pols emphasis]
The call yesterday for the ouster–by any lawful means necessary, including recall–of Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler comes after his testimony against Senate Bill 12-109 in the House Local Government Committee. SB-109, which was killed on a party-line vote at Gessler’s urging, would have resolved the “inactive-failed to vote” status of thousands of Colorado voters, and clarified procedures for voter registration status. The bill was drafted in direct response to the controversy last fall over Gessler’s insistence that ballots not be mailed to these otherwise registered and eligble voters. A number of county clerks, led by Pueblo and Denver counties, openly rebelled against Gessler and prevailed in court.
What Gessler proved yesterday, what seems to have been the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back for Colorado Democratic Party chairman Rick Palacio, is that Gessler doesn’t want this problem actually solved. By testifying against Senate Bill 109, which passed the Senate with bipartisan support, Gessler revealed that imposing conditions on the distribution of ballots to legally registered voters, the outcome he sought by trying to stop “inactive failed to vote” ballots from being mailed last fall, really is his goal. Gessler proved this wasn’t simply about “uniformity,” since the bill he testified against would have created uniformity.
Uniformity on the side of equal access to ballots. That’s what Gessler opposes.
And this is the latest in a series of actions Gessler has taken that reveal an agenda as Secretary of State fundamentally at odds with the interests of the citizens who elected him. Gessler continues to attempt with rule implementation to effect sweeping changes to Colorado election law, reflective of untested court decisions where he wants, in outright defiance of court decisions he doesn’t like–in all cases exercising a capricious lack of judgment, and naked partisan ambition totally inappropriate for his role as Colorado’s chief elections officer. His lack of an ethical compass in his official position was on display right after his election when he tried to “moonlight” for his former law firm. It continued to glare brightly while he slashed fines for a county Republican Party accused of gross fiscal negligence, then held a fundraiser for them.
We’ve been saying it from the beginning: this scheming partisan elections lawyer was a terrible choice for Secretary of State, one of the very worst electoral choices ever made by the people of Colorado. What’s needed now, before anybody starts talking about the daunting logistics of recalling him, or other strategies that can be employed to blunt his agenda against the voting rights of the people of Colorado, is the simple recognition that Democrats calling for Gessler’s ouster by any lawful means is not just an outburst of election-year hot air.
It’s time to recognize how serious a threat to “small-d” democracy Gessler really is.