State: Elec­tions work­ing

Wil­liams tells fed­eral panel that Colorado is a model for U.S.

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Jesse Paul Jesse Paul: 303-954-1733, jpaul@den­ver­post.com or @JesseAPaul

Colorado Sec­re­tary of State Wayne Wil­liams told the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion in a let­ter dated Fri­day that the state’s elec­tion sys­tem works well and that a blan­ket re­quest for voter in­for­ma­tion isn’t an ef­fec­tive way to seek out fraud.

Wil­liams’ nine-page re­sponse to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s elec­tion in­tegrity com­mis­sion in­cludes sev­eral rec­om­men­da­tions to im­prove elec­tions and sug­gests that it look else­where in its mis­sion to un­cover wrong­do­ing.

“While this data may serve a pur­pose,” Wil­liams wrote in his let­ter to the com­mis­sion Fri­day, “a sin­gle re­quest for data that lacks the non-pub­lic data nec­es­sary to ac­cu­rately match vot­ers across states can’t be used to ef­fec­tively as­sess the ac­cu­racy of voter rolls.”

Wil­liams, a Repub­li­can, urged the voter com­mis­sion to reach out to the Elec­tion Reg­is­tra­tion and In­for­ma­tion Cen­ter — a 20-state group that main­tains elec­tions, mo­tor ve­hi­cle, death, felon and other records and is main­tained by mem­ber states’ agen­cies.

Trump es­tab­lished the ad­vi­sory com­mis­sion in May with a broad man­date, but the ef­fort has been clouded by par­ti­san­ship and dis­trust from the start. That’s in no small part be­cause the or­der came af­ter Trump al­leged with­out ev­i­dence that as many as 5 mil­lion peo­ple voted il­le­gally in his 2016 elec­tion vic­tory against Hil­lary Clin­ton.

The com­mis­sion is tasked with in­ves­ti­gat­ing voter fraud, voter sup­pres­sion and other vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties in the U.S. elec­tion in­fras­truc­ture.

Wil­liams’ let­ter was a re­sponse to a com­mis­sion so­lic­i­ta­tion for voter in­for­ma­tion from Colorado about two weeks ago. That re­quest also asked Wil­liams a se­ries of ques­tions on elec­tions, in­clud­ing whether he has any ev­i­dence of voter fraud or reg­is­tra­tion fraud in Colorado, or any sug­ges­tions for im­prov­ing cy­ber­se­cu­rity. It asked for a re­sponse by Fri­day.

“Elec­tions are work­ing well in Colorado,” Wil­liams wrote. “By ev­ery rel­e­vant met­ric, our state ranks as a leader in elec­tion ad­min­is­tra­tion.”

One of the com­mis­sion’s ques­tions in­volved elec­tion-re­lated crimes in the state since the Novem­ber 2000 elec­tion. In re­sponse, the sec­re­tary of state’s of­fice said 18 peo­ple have been con­victed or charged in that span.

That in­cludes four cases this year: a man who pleaded guilty to forg­ing sig­na­tures on a pe­ti­tion to qual­ify a bal­lot ini­tia­tive dur­ing the 2016 gen­eral elec­tion; a woman who voted twice — in 2013 and 2016 — us­ing her dead fa­ther’s name; and a woman who forged her dead par­ents’ names in mul­ti­ple elec­tions.

Nearly 3,400 Coloradans have can­celed their voter reg­is­tra­tions in the wake of the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s re­quest for voter in­for­ma­tion, the Sec­re­tary of State’s Of­fice con­firmed Thurs­day. Although that fig­ure makes up just 0.09 per­cent of the state’s 3.7 mil­lion reg­is­tered vot­ers, county of­fi­cials say they’ve never seen any­thing quite like it in their ca­reers.

Wil­liams, along with dozens of other sec­re­taries of state across the coun­try, has said he will only pro­vide in­for­ma­tion con­sid­ered pub­lic un­der Colorado law, a cat­e­gory that in­cludes vot­ers’ names, ad­dresses, party af­fil­i­a­tions, birth years and which elec­tions they have par­tic­i­pated in.

The com­mis­sion’s re­quest is on hold while a le­gal chal­lenge plays out in court.

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