Election Officials Respond to Illegal Voter Study
KREX News Room
MESA COUNTY, Colo.- Findings from state officials suggest that Colorado has potential illegal voters across some of the state's largest counties, including Mesa County.
Secretary of State Scott Gessler cross-referenced Colorado's immigration detainee list with the voter registration database and found 85 potential matches of non-citizens who are reportedly registered to vote.
Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Sheila Reiner called the findings inaccurate and misleading to the public. "We did the same type of data match against the Mesa County voter rolls and we get zero," said Reiner.
Gessler's office couldn't give us the number of people they say are illegally registered in Mesa County because the research is ongoing.
However, since the lists only check names and dates of birth, someone with the same name and birthday could mistakenly be included. "If you take a population that has 30,000 names that are the same names, birthdays would match up," said Karl Castleton, the chair of the Mesa County Democratic Party.
Castleton calls the study a waste of time and money. "They know they're here illegally; I don't think they're going to go out of their way to try and say, 'I want to do this,'" said Castleton.
Reiner says the report is more of a tactic to get the Department of Homeland Security to pay serious attention to the fact that Colorado currently has no system in place that verifies voter citizenship. "Our voter registration is on the honor system," said Reiner.
All someone needs is a driver's license, along with a signature. "On the driver's license it doesn't say if you're a citizen or not right on the face of it," said Reiner.
Castleton says the honor system hasn't been a problem in the past and it's not necessary to change it now. "It's fighting the wrong issue; voting should be easy. It should be straightforward. It should be checked and verified, as they are trying to do, but I don't think they should be making a bunch of noise about 85 out of 5 million," Castleton said.
Reiner says a new system could be a good thing as long as it's not abused. "I think the fear is that it might be used in a heavy-handed way instead of just being accurate."