Gessler Stops in Grand Junction, Seeks to Improve Future Elections
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - "This year I think we saw far fewer complaints..." Secretary of State Scott Gessler started his visit in Grand Junction by praising local officials for their handling of Nov.'s election.
His stop to the Western Slope Tuesday is part of a statewide Election Integrity Listening tour, during which Gessler hopes to gain local insight on what changes should be made to the state's election system.
"Colorado is a huge success story when it comes to political participation and the integrity of our elections," explained Gessler.
"Here in Mesa County, we have a leg up because we have already moved on to vote centers. We have connectivity," said Sheila Reiner, the county's clerk and recorder.
But potential legislation could offer difficulties in the future. If day-of registration is implemented, people would be able to register to vote up to the final day of the election.
"I'm not sure we really need to change anything because we're working really well right now. We saw an increase in voting while most of the country saw a decrease in voting," said Gessler.
"If you run a paper-based polling location and you're not set up like Mesa County is, that same-day registration can be a real bear," added Reiner.
Reiner said the question of a voter's eligibility the day-of could cause more provisional voting. The problem with provisional ballots is that there's a very tight time frame to process them. Having more to deal with could lead to inaccuracies.
Residents who attended today's meeting also had concerns for Gessler.
"Do you believe that we Coloradans have the right to a secret ballot?" one gentleman asked.
Gessler answered yes, but reaching that goal of total anonymity, will take time.
Another attendee asked why a driver's license isn't currently required to vote.
"That issue is ultimately in the hands of our legislature. They're the ones who decide what type of identification in Colorado is valid and what type is not," explained Gessler.
On a positive note, Gessler told NewsChannel 5 that Colorado's military and oversees voting has climbed 30 percent in the past four years.
Gessler also has stops planned for Montrose and Garfield counties during his tour.