Scott Gessler's office running checks on thousands of more potential non-citizens
In August, Secretary of State Scott Gessler ran the names of 1,416 individuals through a federal database in hopes of weeding out illegal immigrant voters. Months later, a total of fourteens voters have been removed from voting rolls in Colorado. But the story doesn't end there. As it turns out, Gessler's office is doing checks on about 2,400 more individuals -- and his office expects results next week.
This latest round of checks will likely fuel more criticism that Gessler, a Republican, is spending too much time and effort trying to find illegal voters, when he should be focused on registering and encouraging voters and generally making sure election operations operate smoothly. Gessler, however, maintains that his office has done an unprecedentedly good job at registering voters even as he tries to clean up the voting rolls.
The controversial effort to prevent voter fraud first made headlines in August, when Gessler's office sent letters to nearly 4,000 registered voters asking them to prove that they are citizens. These were potentially illegal voters because they had at some point presented proof of non-citizenship, such as a green card or VISA, at the Division of Motor Vehicles. At the same time, Gessler's office also ran the names of 1,416 of those voters through a federal database with the Department of Homeland Security.
Sam Levin Scott Gessler, touting success of voter registrations earlier this week.
He was able to do so because those 1,416 had "alien identification numbers" on file with the DMV, while the remainder of the roughly 4,000 did not -- at least not at the time. Since then, however, Gessler's office has successfully located alien identification numbers for most of the remaining 4,000. For that reason, says Gessler spokesman Rich Coolidge, the office has been able to run roughly 2,400 more names through the system. Gessler is expected to have results on this next week.
We first got wind of this second round of checks from Gessler directly, when we chatted with him outside of a food truck on the 16th Street Mall on Tuesday. Asked for his assessment about how his anti-fraud effort has gone, part of his response was, "It's sort of a lengthy process and we'll see how that pans out. We don't have all the data on that yet."
He added, "I am expecting, we've got another match that we've done -- so we're going to be releasing some more numbers as well."
According to Coolidge, the 2,400 names without DMV alien numbers likely reflect individuals who made multiple visits to the DMV, so they may not have shown a green card on a second or third visit. For that reason, their most recent record would not have the alien identification required for the SAVE system.
Since then, though, Gessler's office has dug deeper and tracked down those identification numbers for most of the remaining individuals. They expect results next week, less than a month before election day.
"We worked with the DMV...and are checking those numbers against the SAVE database," Coolidge says. "We've done that and are awaiting final verification."
Continue for more details on the latest checks and responses from Gessler critics.