Caldara made headlines by switching his voter registration from Boulder to Colorado Springs — roughly 100 miles away — so that he could “vote” in the Sept. 10 recall election. He cast a blank ballot.
But his larger point was to show that a new Democratic-sponsored election reform law that allowed him to do so was ripe for abuse. It allows people to register as late as Election Day and to affirm that they intend to make the district their permanent home, even if they “moved” to the district that day.
Caldara and others have pointed out that such a promise is impossible to enforce. Shortly before the election, he rented a room in a friend’s house in Colorado Springs, told elections officials that he planned to make it his permanent home and was allowed to cast a ballot.
“Not only did I intend to move to Colorado Springs, I did move to Colorado Springs,” he’s quoted as saying in a statement responding to the article.
The Colorado Springs Gazette calls this a publicity stunt but realizes the seriousness of the problem and calls for Governor Hickenlooper to fix the bill right away in a stinging editorial that should be read by anyone who supports “same day registration”. The Gazette points out:
That was a high-profile stunt, and authorities could do nothing to stop it because of HB1303. Even prosecution, which seems difficult given the language of the bill, would not have stopped Caldara's vote from counting had he actually completed the ballot. Imagine how many special-interest votes could be cast stealthily if election officials can't even stop an act of civil disobedience committed in broad daylight with cameras rolling. Heck, it wasn't even real disobedience. Some lawyers argue the law allowed it. . . .
Traditionally, one had to have roots in a community before voting in it. Not now. The wording below clearly shows that one can show up in a jurisdiction on the day of an election and vote with nothing more than an "intention" of making the place a permanent home.
This gives almost any Coloradan - especially those among us who are willing to lie - an easy opportunity to vote in local elections. Want to pass or kill a local school tax? Bring in voters willing to state an "intention" to move. Want to undo a municipal gun law? Ask impassioned gun-rights activists to show up and state their intentions to move. Supporters of Morse and Giron may never know whether out-of-jurisdiction voting hurt their senators, though no good evidence suggests it did.
Even if county officials can prosecute, they have no good means of detecting such activity. If they did, tracking down suspects and prosecuting them - by disproving their intentions beyond reasonable doubt - is a long way around. Even if successful, prosecutions won't undo the damage.
This is not a hypothetical situation that is limited to Colorado elections or even in-state voters. It is documented as happening in multiple places in most detail in Wisconsin in the 2004 presidential election by a special task force of the Milwaukee police. Out of state employees and volunteers for a liberal C4 and Kerry for President all voted in Wisconsin with no intent to reside there. In their report found 16 staffers had voted this way but they thought there were many more (emphasis mine).
Where proof could not be provided to Election officials that these staff members could vote in Milwaukee, other staff members who were registered voters vouched for them by corroborating their residency. More alarmingly, other staff members who were deputy registrars for this election simply registered these individuals as Milwaukee residents, bypassing Election officials altogether. The actions of the listed campaign and 527 staff members appear to be violations of State of Wisconsin Law as it relates to registering of voters and the casting of ballots in an election. …There does remain a strong possibility that the discovery of these random staffers voting illegally is the proverbial ‘tip of the iceberg’ as it relates to an illegal organized attempt to influence the outcome of an election in the state of Wisconsin.”
They were never prosecuted. The kicker is Colorado’s law is even looser than Wisconsin. So while voter suppression in Colorado is a myth, vote fraud in Colorado has never been easier.