Late last month, over 30,000 noncitizens in Colorado got postcards encouraging them to register to vote. While Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, maintained the online voter registration system would reject such individuals when they tried to go through, the state’s secretary of state office attributed it to a database error.
It occurs as Griswold, who has emphasized her position as a national advocate for safe elections, runs for reelection in the November midterm elections and as broad suspicion of vote integrity has grown in the wake of the 2020 presidential election. The Republican opponent of the incumbent, Pam Anderson, is a fervent supporter of Colorado’s all-mail voting system and a former suburban Denver clerk who now serves as the chairman of the state’s county clerks organization.
Jena Griswold was criticized for the error by Kristi Burton Brown, the state GOP chairperson, who said in a statement to the Associated Press on Monday that Griswold “continues to commit readily avoidable errors right before votes go out” via mail.
The mistake happened when the letters were mailed on September 27 to residents who had non-citizen Colorado driver’s licenses. According to Colorado Public Radio News, the front of the card states, “Make sure your voice is heard this November,” and then instructs readers to “Register to VOTE now at www.GoVoteColorado.gov.”
Every two years, Colorado distributes postcards to eligible citizens who are not yet registered, urging them to do so.
The postcards stated that although it didn’t appear that you were registered to vote at your present home, “our records show that you or your household may be able to vote.” According to the report, the email did include the state’s qualifications for voter eligibility, such as age, nationality, and having lived in the area for at least 22 days.
Griswold’s office said in a statement on Monday that department employees later compared a list of names of 102,000 people provided by the Electronic Registration Information Center with a local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) database and discovered a formatting error from the latter, which prevented the system from flagging the ineligible names prior to the mailers being sent out.
Investigations into the event are ongoing, it added. The inaccuracy was initially revealed by Colorado Public Radio News. Following the 2020 presidential election, there is a general lack of faith in the accuracy of the voting process.
The state is also making more attempts to prevent those who are ineligible from enrolling, including daily comparisons of the Social Security numbers necessary for each application. County clerks will also send questionable cases to the district attorneys in the area for consideration.
According to Griswold’s office, no one who received the postcards inadvertently sought to register.
According to the National Council on State Legislatures, Colorado is one of at least 18 states and the District of Columbia that give driver’s licenses to foreign nationals. In addition, Colorado registers eligible voters automatically when they get their driver’s license from the DMV.
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