Ben­net wants elec­tion in­tegrity group dis­banded

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Jesse Paul

U.S. Sen. Michael Ben­net has asked the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion to dis­band its elec­tion in­tegrity com­mis­sion and “re­verse the dam­age that it has al­ready caused,” cit­ing the thou­sands of peo­ple in Colorado who have with­drawn their voter reg­is­tra­tions.

“The stated pur­pose of the com­mis­sion is ‘to in­crease the Amer­i­can peo­ple’s con­fi­dence in the in­tegrity of our elec­tion sys­tems,’ ” the Colorado Demo­crat wrote Fri­day in a let­ter to Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence and the com­mis­sion’s vice-chair, Kansas Sec­re­tary of State Kris Kobach. “But it is hav­ing a very real and dra­mat­i­cally chill­ing ef­fect on voter par­tic­i­pa­tion.”

Through Fri­day, nearly 4,000 Coloradans had can­celed their voter reg­is­tra­tions since the com­mis­sion made a blan­ket re­quest for voter in­for­ma­tion from all 50 states. On July 10 alone, 1,237 Colorado vot­ers with­drew their reg­is­tra­tions.

An­other 200 Colorado vot­ers have signed up to become “con­fi­den­tial vot­ers,” a des­ig­na­tion that al­lows their in­for­ma­tion to be with­held.

Ben­net wrote that Colorado has “led the na­tion in adopt­ing early vot­ing, mailin bal­lots and same-day reg­is­tra­tion. This com­mis­sion is work­ing di­rectly counter to those ef­forts.”

The Wash­ing­ton Post re­ported Mon­day that the day af­ter Donald Trump was elected pres­i­dent, Kobach told his tran­si­tion team of a pro­posal to change fed­eral law to tighten voter-reg­is­tra­tion re­quire­ments.

Colorado Sec­re­tary of State Wayne Wil­liams, along with dozens of other sec­re­taries of state across the coun­try, has said he will pro­vide the com­mis­sion only 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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