Colorado: 30,000 noncitizens got voter registration mailer

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DENVER | Colorado’s secretary of state office says it mistakenly sent postcards to about 30,000 noncitizens encouraging them to register to vote, blaming the error on a database glitch related to the state’s list of residents with driver’s licenses.

The office of Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold insisted none of the noncitizens will be allowed to register to vote if they try.

The news comes at a time of widespread skepticism — often unfounded — of voting integrity following the 2020 presidential election and as Griswold, who has touted her role as a national advocate for secure elections, seeks reelection in the November midterms.

Colorado’s Republican Party chair, Kristi Burton Brown, condemned Griswold for the error, saying in a Monday statement that “Jena Griswold continues to make easily avoidable errors just before ballots go out” by mail on Oct. 17.

Griswold faces Republican Pam Anderson, a former suburban Denver clerk and head of the state’s county clerks association, who is a staunch advocate of Colorado’s all-mail voting system.

Griswold’s office said in a statement the postcards were mailed Sept. 7. The error happened after department employees compared a list of names of 102,000 people provided by the Electronic Registration Information Center, a bipartisan, multistate organization devoted to voter registration, to a database of Colorado residents issued driver’s licenses.

That Department of Revenue driver’s license list includes residents issued special licenses to people who are not U.S. citizens. But it didn’t include formatting information that normally would have allowed the Department of State to eliminate those names before the mailers went out, Griswold’s office said Monday.

The incident is under investigation, it said. Colorado Public Radio News first reported the error.

Colorado is among at least 18 states, along with the District of Columbia, that issue driver’s licenses to non-U.S. citizens, according to the National Council on State Legislatures. Colorado also automatically registers eligible voters when they obtain their driver’s license from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Griswold’s office said there it was unaware that anyone who received the postcards in error had tried to register.

It is sending notices to the roughly 30,000 postcard recipients who aren’t citizens they mistakenly received the postcards. And it is applying several efforts to prevent or reject anyone not eligible to vote from registering, including comparing Social Security Numbers required for each application, on a daily basis. County clerks also will refer suspect cases to local district attorneys for review.

Sean Morales-Doyle, director of the Voting Rights Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, said the fact that the mistake was caught shows the system is working.

“It should show, first of all, that mistakes can happen, but secondly that there are checks in place to make sure mistakes don’t result in disaster,” Morales-Doyle said. “It’s not good this happened. It appears to be a case of human error and a database error and not some conspiracy, which I think some critics would seize on.”

Morales-Doyle said there have been very few incidents of noncitizens attempting to register in the U.S. because the consequences are so severe — up to and including deportation.

The Electronic Registration Information Center, known as ERIC, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving U.S. voter rolls and encouraging registrations. Some 33 states and the District of Colombia belong to the group. Under its contract with ERIC, Colorado sends a mailing to eligible residents encouraging them to register each election cycle.

The Colorado postcards, in English and Spanish, do specify that residents must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years old to register. They tell recipients how to register but are not themselves a registration form.

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Hypocrisy Monitor
Hypocrisy Monitor
1 month ago

Oy, Jena Griswold, the hits just keep coming. But, nothing to see, just move along.

Kelly White
Kelly White
1 month ago

Boot out Democrats

GeneD
1 month ago
Reply to  Kelly White

Yeah! Bring back Tina!

Dean68
Dean68
1 month ago

Perfect, Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold will be another Sentinel in the glove endorsement…

GeneD
1 month ago
Reply to  Dean68

Huh?

Joe Felice
Joe Felice
1 month ago

A clerical error that is of no consequence. They won’t be allowed to register or to vote.

Hypocrisy Monitor
Hypocrisy Monitor
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe Felice

Of course, you dismiss it, Joe. Right on brand.

“Errors” like this from leftists Griswold and Joan Lopez are par for the game. It’s amusing to watch Morales-Doyle attempt to spin this as a good thing.

Doug King
Doug King
1 month ago

Oh the righties will ride this for years.

Hypocrisy Monitor
Hypocrisy Monitor
1 month ago
Reply to  Doug King

As well they should. Continuing mishaps by Lopez and Griswold will haunt us all for years. I don’t recall mistakes like these under former secretary Willaims or AC clerk Matt Crane, but maybe my memory is failing.

Hypocrisy Monitor
Hypocrisy Monitor
1 month ago
Reply to  Doug King

And Doug, you should be more concerned about the low-quality candidates your side is putting into office. Even the lefties had plenty to say about how poorly the vote counting was conducted for the city council’s last election, going so far as to claim it was what put Coffman in the mayor’s seat. Ask Candice Bailey what she thinks about Lopez.

Last edited 1 month ago by Hypocrisy Monitor
Hypocrisy Monitor
Hypocrisy Monitor
1 month ago

It appears Griswold made another “mistake” or was it intentional when she allowed recall petitions for recent Republican-defector Kevin Priola to be circulated among voters in Senate District 13, which Priola will represent in January, instead of in Senate District 25, which he currently represents. Thus halting his recall by a judge’s ruling.

She is either corrupt or inept, or possibly both.

Bart Emanuel
Bart Emanuel
1 month ago

This is exceptionally frustrating because none of these people will be able to vote, but it’s the kind of thing that is red meat for the fascist propaganda machine. The people who mainline that tripe are going to be bricked up for at least a week as exemplified by the comments on this article.

All Griswold’s administration had to do is not make a dumb mistake like this. I guess that’s too much to ask.

Walter James Bennett Rutledge

But is it a mistake? “Government … deriving its just powers from the consent of the governed…” is one of the first concepts laid out in the very first of the founding documents of our nation. It follows that if these people are to obey the law they should have a say in who makes these laws.