Secretary of State Scott Gessler's suit against Denver, intended to prevent Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson from sending ballots to any voter he considers inactive (meaning they didn't vote last year), has provoked outcry from assorted progressive organizations in Colorado. And now, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow has taken up the cause, devoting much of her program last night to Gessler's actions.
In an introductory segment cleverly dubbed "Things to Sue in Denver When You're Suppressing Votes," Maddow outlines recent moves by Gessler, in places like Pueblo, that his critics see as partisan vote suppression targeting areas that lean Democratic. Then she focuses on the Denver situation, suggesting that among the voters most likely to be disenfranchised by Gessler's actions are Hispanics, who, yes, tend to support Democrats more than Republicans.
And that's not all. In the next segment, Denver Clerk and Recorder Johnson appeared from the 9News studio for an extended interview. Johnson didn't seem entirely comfortable being in the national spotlight, answering most questions in a succinct fashion. But she made it clear that, in her mind, requiring some voters to go through an extra step to vote is fundamentally unfair.
As for Gessler, he's on the receiving end of complaints about Gessler and issue committees jointly presented by Colorado Common Cause and Colorado Ethics Watch. The gripe? According to CEW director Luis Toro, in an e-mail statement, "The Secretary of State's filing asks the court to invalidate a part of the constitution he is sworn to uphold. As an elected official, Scott Gessler is expected to put aside his personal views and defend the Colorado Constitution. Instead, he has ignored our government's separation of powers by attempting to use his office to not only enforce the law, but also to legislate as well as interpret the law."
Look below to see the two Maddow segments. Then page down to read the complaint and opening brief aimed at Gessler by Colorado Common Cause and Colorado Ethics Watch.
Note: The original version of this post failed to note that the documents below relate to issue committees, not the Denver voting issue. We apologize for the error.
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More from our Politics archive: "Scott Gessler's push for voter verification is a solution in search of problem, says ProgressNow."