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CO: Dirty voter rolls plague crucial swing state

By   /   October 11, 2012  /   News  /   9 Comments

Part 19 of 25 in the series Voter Fraud

By Troy Anderson | Colorado Watchdog

DENVER — Amid mounting concerns nationwide regarding voter fraud, a ColoradoWatchdog.org analysis found Colorado is one of the most problematic states with large numbers of inactive voters, “dirty” voter registration rolls and other problems.

Considered one of the swing states where the U.S. presidential election will be decided next month, Colorado has an inordinately high number of inactive voters, according to the analysis.

COLORADO: Unusually high number of registered voters?

“Colorado is among 12 states that have significant numbers of individuals on the rolls that ought not to be there,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, a nonprofit government open records advocate. “In Colorado, a fifth of the election rolls are composed of voters who ought not to be on the list. When you have lists as dirty as the ones in Colorado, it provides opportunities for fraud. There is no doubt about it.”

Of the state’s 3.4 million registered voters, 1.2 million are considered inactive, providing an “opportunity for voter fraud,” said Earl Glynn, a special projects coordinator and researcher at the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity, who conducted the analysis.

The analysis found 31,655 Colorado voters last cast a ballot in 2000 or before. That number rises to 265,680 when looking at 2006 or before.

And 592,292 voters show no voting history at all. Of those, 10,492 registered to vote in 2000, 121,569 in 2006 or before and 189,878 in 2011 or this year, and have not yet voted in a congressional or presidential election.

GLYNN: ‘There is always the potential for voter fraud.’

“There is always the potential for voter fraud,” Glynn said. “I like to use the word potential. If there is a name on the voter roll that could be borrowed by a corrupt official, that is an opportunity for fraud. When you can borrow a name on the list and it’s been there a long time, it will be very hard to prove anything one way or the other.”

To commit voter fraud, Glynn said that all unscrupulous individuals would have to do is obtain copies of publicly available voter registration lists, look for inactive voters and show up at the polls to cast ballots as those people.

“I made a statement (in Kansas) that I could vote all day long and be immune from prosecution,” Glynn said. “I know how the system works and how to find people who aren’t going to be at the polls. It would only be some weird chance I would run into someone I knew. In urban areas, the election workers really don’t know the people coming in. With these lists being open record, anybody can buy the list and study it.”

The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office did not return calls for comment.

But Tony Robinson, an associate professor and chairman of the political science department at the University of Colorado Denver, disputed the analysis, arguing that a large number of inactive voters “means very little.”

“It’s absolutely completely unlikely, or almost impossible, to engage in the kind of voter fraud (Glynn) is concerned with,” Robinson said. “The idea that someone would acquire the rolls and organize tens of thousands of people to illegally show up at precincts across the state and then vote is just impractical and doesn’t happen.”

In addition to a large number of inactive voters, Colorado is also one of several states with large numbers of counties where more than 100 percent of the eligible population is registered to vote, Fitton said after reviewing the Franklin Center data.

“If people have moved away and are registered in that state and another state, it provides an opportunity for double voting,” Fitton said.

Logan Churchwell, spokesman for True the Vote, a nonprofit, nonpartisan election integrity watchdog organization based in Houston, said more than 100 percent of the eligible population in 10 counties in Colorado is registered to vote.

“We’re seeing instances where some counties had 130 percent voter registration, 113 percent voter registration and 108 percent voter registration,” Churchwell said. “Usually, whenever you see more than 105 percent, you’ve got a pretty bad problem in terms of maintaining your rolls. Federal law says every jurisdiction that maintains voter rolls has to put in place a reasonable effort to keep dead, felon and ineligible voters off the rolls.”

This is especially an issue in Colorado, which doesn’t require photo identification to vote.

“Any time you have over 100 percent voter registration, it just demonstrates that the records are not being properly maintained,” Churchwell said. “If you don’t have photo identification laws in the state, the likelihood of someone impersonating a dead person is increased.”

The ColoradoWatchdog.org analysis comes amid growing concerns about possible widespread voter fraud in the November election.

In February, Judicial Watch announced the launch of its 2012 Election Integrity Project to pressure states and localities, through lawsuits if necessary, to clean up voter registration rolls as required by the National Voter Registration Act.

A Judicial Watch investigation found voter rolls in Colorado and many other states contain the names of individuals who are ineligible to vote. The investigation also found there were more individuals on voter registration lists in these states than there are individuals eligible to vote, including individuals who are dead.

“Election fraud was a significant concern during the 2008 and 2010 election seasons, with ACORN/Project Vote being linked to massive voter registration fraud,” according to a Judicial Watch statement. “A total of 70 ACORN employees in 12 states have been convicted of voter registration fraud. As documented in a July 2009 report by the House Committee on Oversight and Governmental Reform, of the 1.3 million registrations Project Vote/ACORN submitted in the 2008 election cycle, more than one-third were invalid.”

Judicial Watch, according to the statement, has uncovered documents showing that, rather than taking action to enforce Section 8 of the NVRA, the U.S. Department of Justice is working with ACORN-front Project Vote, President Barack Obama’s former employer, to push for strict enforcement of Section 7 of the NVRA relating to welfare office voter registration obligations.

The purpose of this campaign, according to the statement, is evidently to use voter registration laws to register greater numbers of low-income voters, widely considered to be an important voting demographic for the Obama presidential campaign.

“For example, a separate Judicial Watch investigation found that the percentage of invalid voter registration forms in Colorado public assistance agencies was four times the national average after Project Vote successfully forced the state to implement new policies for increasing the registration of public assistance recipients during the 2008 and 2010 election seasons,” according to the statement.

The Judicial Watch campaign came the same month as The Pew Center on the States released a report finding the nation’s registration rolls are plagued with errors.

The report found 24 million — or one in every eight — voter registrations in the U.S. are no longer valid or significantly inaccurate, more than 1.8 million dead people are listed as voters and 2.75 million people have registrations in more than one state.

“The study found millions of voter registration records nationwide that are either inaccurate or no longer valid,” the authors of the Pew report wrote. “These were identified based on data indicating a voter died, moved, or had been inactive from 2004 to March 2011.”

Glynn said the potential for voter fraud in Colorado is higher than in many states because it has such a high rate of inactive voters.  This, Glynn said, is due to the fact that Colorado has a different definition of inactive voters.

“In Colorado, if you don’t respond to (mailed requests) from election officials, they put you on inactive status,” Glynn says. “Because of that, the number of inactive voters in Colorado is much higher than in many other states. And any time you have these lists of inactive voters who are not going to show up to vote, that is actually an opportunity for voter fraud.”

Fitton said it’s incumbent on the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office to clean up the voter registration rolls as quickly as possible.

“There are things they can do between now and the election and things they can do over the medium term as well,” Fitton said. “We have alerted our folks and True the Vote has alerted Colorado as well.”

For a comparison of registered voter counts to the U.S. Census voting age population in Colorado, click here.

Contact Troy Anderson at [email protected]

Part of 25 in the series Voter Fraud
  1. FL: Lopez-Cantera: opponent claiming fraud because he’s ‘unhappy because he lost’
  2. Video: State lawmaker: we must stop ‘absentee ballot fraudsters’
  3. FL: Julien says absentee vote ‘fraudsters’ are ‘trial run to presidential election’
  4. WI: Legal questions remain over GAB’s approval of electronic proof of residency
  5. FL: ACLU acknowledges absentee voter fraud in Sunshine State elections
  6. IA: Suspicious ballots bring out criminal investigators
  7. FL: Vote fraud denier Ted Deutch calls for investigation into voter fraud
  8. FL: Multistate voters emerge amid absentee ballot flurry
  9. IA: Lawmaker wants investigation into secretary of state’s spending
  10. IA: Convicted felons charged with election misconduct
  11. FL: Swing-state magnet for fraudulent double voting
  12. States: Obama voter fraud would be crime here, too
  13. FL: Obama campaign workers silent in face of voter fraud
  14. Video: Undercover investigation finds voter fraud
  15. CO: County clerks wage war with Secretary of State over voting issues
  16. OH: Obama voter fraud in TX would be felony in Ohio
  17. VA: Video: Obama workers enable double-voting across state lines
  18. MT: McCulloch denies voter fraud’s existence, but absentees could be exploited
  19. CO: Dirty voter rolls plague crucial swing state
  20. VA: Group warns of ‘vote harvesting’ at nursing homes
  21. TX: DNC fires staffer in voter registration video flap
  22. FL: Bloated voter rolls show capacity for fraud, say analysts
  23. VA: Latest voter-fraud sting nabs son of long-serving Dem congressman
  24. FL: The all-out battle to fix the Florida elections
  25. CO: Cheaper, cleaner voter rolls! Now available in 7 states!


Tori formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • wrongheifer

    Purge the stinking polls of non active voters!

  • wrongheifer

    I still think we should have to register every election! Fresh each time, with ID or a photo and fingerprint!

  • CO voter

    What this article doesn’t make clear is that on election day, the voter needs to appear with some form of ID, (usually a drivers license, but not always) something verifying their name and address, and if they don’t have it, or are not on the rolls as actively registered, they will vote a provisional ballot. Or, they can go to a service center and prove their ID and get reinstated. Provisional ballots are carefully screened during the two weeks following the election, and if not verified as eligible, they won’t count. (I’ve been trained as an election judge, so I’ve seen all the safeguards that will be in place at the vote centers). Although I do agree that there is some cleanup needed. But simply purging the rolls of non active voters may wipe out people who didn’t understand or replay to the card to remain active. Then, if they don’t check their registration before the election, they might show up and be out of luck.
    Just for not voting in 2010 or 2008.

    I’m almost more concerned about eligible voters being intimidated or fooled into not voting.

  • GianniP

    In NC, I’ve found 3 counties with registrations in excess of the voting age population.

  • GianniP

    Most voter fraud, at least in NC, is the result of absentee ballots…often cast by those that create phony registrations in ‘registration drives.’
    Also, we have same day registration and voting, which means the Bd of Elections cannot confirm residency. In 2008, after the election, 61,000 newly minted voter registration cards were mailed out (the vast majority registered as Democrats) were returned as ‘undeliverable.’ Obama won here by only 14,000 votes (out of 6.5 million) so you know what that suggests…..

  • GianniP

    Amen. We’re the only nation in the world that allows such lax shenanigans.

  • GianniP

    and felons, and illegals, and the multiply registered,and the dead and the impersonators voting in place of another.

  • Pocacahontas

    “I’ve been trained as an election judge.” So have I. When I was trained, I was instructed not to ask for any identification — not unless the potential voter had registered by mail and it was the first federal election she was voting in. Let me repeat what I was told: Do not ask for identification.

    Oklahoma law has since been changed and photo I.D. is now required to vote — but the potential for absentee ballot fraud remains unchanged.

  • Jeff Kelly – TTV Colorado

    70% of Colorado votes are via mail-in ballots (Per CO SoS office.)
    That’s a lot of opportunity for lax signature validation.