The latest report comes from a study in which as many as 5,000 foreign nationals voted in elections held in 2010 in the state of Colorado.
Gregg called the study’s findings “a disturbing wake-up call.”
The findings come from a study conducted by the Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler. Gessler told the committee that his department’s investigation revealed the names of nearly 12,000 non-citizens that were registered to vote in Colorado.
About 5,000 of those actually cast ballots in the 2010 elections. In that election, Democratic Senator Michael Bennet narrowly defeated Republican Ken Buck in the race to represent Colorado.
As was the case in a similar discovery in New Mexico, the Colorado study cross-matched the state’s voter registration database the record of those applying for state driver’s licenses.
In his testimony before the Election’s subcommittee, Secretary Gessler admitted that, “we have a problem here. We don’t know the size of it,”
In a statement released after the subcommittee hearing, Congressman Harper said:
This report is a disturbing wake-up call for election administrators across the country and cause for every state to review their current registration processes and safeguards designed to prevent illegal voting.
Congress often focuses on increasing access to voter registration — making it easier for everyone to participate in elections. And that is a goal that we must continuously pursue; however, we must also ensure that easing access to voter registration isn’t also, inadvertently, increasing vulnerabilities to voter fraud.
We simply cannot have an electoral system that allows thousands of non-citizens to violate the law and vote in our elections. We must do more to protect the integrity of our electoral processes.
According to the report issued by the Colorado Department of State on March 8, 2011:
11,805 individuals who (1) were non-citizens at the time they obtained a driver’s license, and (2) are registered to vote. As discussed below, the Department of State is nearly certain that 106 individuals are improperly registered to vote. And potentially many of the remaining 11,805 individuals are also improperly registered to vote. It is impossible to provide a precise number, however, because voter registration data are inconclusive.
Unlike it’s neighbor to the south, Colorado requires applicants for a driver’s license to prove their legal presence in the state. As set forth in the report of the study:
Since 2006, Colorado has required an individual to show documentation proving lawful presence when obtaining a driver’s license or state identification card. See §§ 42-2-107 and 42-2- 302, C.R.S. and 1 CCR 204-13. When this policy became law, the Department of Revenue began recording the type of document that established legal residence. For U.S. citizens seeking a Colorado driver’s license, required documentation includes a passport, birth certificate, social security card, driver’s license from Colorado, or driver’s license from another U.S. state or territory that requires legal presence. For non-U.S. citizens, proof of legal residence means a valid immigration document.
As for legal remedies would be sought against those illegal aliens found to have registered to vote in violation of the law, Gessler’s office confirmed that it:
cannot accurately determine the number of non-citizens improperly registered to vote, nor can it determine the reasons for any improper registrations. In light of these uncertainties, additional data and the authority to administratively resolve citizenship questions will avoid expensive and perhaps ill-suited criminal investigations.
One member of the panel cast doubt on the reliability of the study, citing the numerous caveats and exceptions mentioned in the report thereof.
As reported by The Hill:
Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas) raised doubts about the reporting, noting that the study itself said it was based on inconclusive data and that it was 'impossible to provide precise numbers' on how many people who were registered to vote in the state were not citizens.
Gonzalez asked Gessler, a former prosecutor, if he would have pursued a court case on such evidence.
Gessler responded that the goal of the study was to expose voter registration issues and pursue administrative avenues to resolve them.
At the conclusion of the hearing on the Colorado voter registration scandal, Congressman Harper encouraged all states to “review voter registration processes.”