Scott Gessler says voter registration initiative not a response to critics
On the heels of an initiative designed to weed out immigrants who may be illegally registered to vote in the November election, Colorado Secretary of Scott Gessler has launched a campaign aimed at increasing voter registration in the state. The $850,000 effort unveiled yesterday is not, however, a direct response to his critics, Gessler says.
Here's one of the ads in his new campaign, announced in a news conference yesterday.
Gessler, a Republican who was in Tampa last week for the Republican National Convention, has come under fire recently for sending letters to many registered voters asking them to prove their citizenship. (Turns out thousands of them were.) His critics argue that the letters represent a clear voter-suppression effort that would primarily intimidate Democrats and unaffiliated voters rather than Republicans -- or at least a waste of his office's limited time and resources.
Just a week after the results of that initiative were released, Gessler's office unveiled the new voter registration campaign -- one he feels goes beyond any previous efforts in the state's history.
"This was not developed to intentionally respond to those criticisms," he told us at the press event. "This has been in the works for a while. It's not a response to anything that's happened recently. We've been planning and we've been committed to this for a while.
"On the other hand," he continues, "I think it does disprove some of these accusations that unfortunately, I think, have taken on real partisan tones, because it does show the commitment that we have."
In recent months, Gessler has faced numerous lawsuits from different watchdog groups along with frequent attacks from political organizations -- all of them arguing that he is overstepping his bounds and devoting too much attention to efforts outside of his job purview.
This latest ad campaign gives his office a chance to actively promote a specific voter initiative -- a change from playing defense against the frequent onslaught of negative press and from voter-rights groups.
Sam Levin Scott Gessler address reporters at a press conference yesterday.
The outreach campaign includes television, radio, print and online ads and features Coloradans from across the state. The spots, some of which are in Spanish, focus on the importance of registering and eligibility requirements and also direct folks to go online to www.govotecolorado.com to register.
Continue reading for more on this campaign and to watch other television spots from Gessler's office.