On One Hand

October 2, 2008

The Florida-ization of Colorado

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 9:46 am

In response to the close polls between John McCain and Barack Obama in Colorado, Republican Secretary of State Mike Coffman has decided to arbitrarily dis-count tens of thousands of new voters based on a technical feature on their registration forms.

Since the overwhelming majority of new registrations have been of college students, Latinos and African-Americans, who are expected to vote Democrat in overwhelming numbers, the action could potentially disenfranchise enough voters to flip Colorado’s 9 electoral votes from Barack Obama to John McCain, and also be a deciding factor in the state’s senate race.

The State of Colorado voter registration form allows voters to write their state drivers license number OR the last four digits of their social security number as a verification of identity. But Coffman finally made clear in instructions to Colorado’s county clerks, responsible for certifying the forms, that anyone who has a state drivers’ license MUST use their drivers license number on the form and NOT the social security number, or they will NOT be allowed to vote on November 4.

This requirement is not specified on the form – which says voters can use either method to vote – nor was it explained adequately to Colorado’s voter outreach groups when they were trained by the Secretary of State to register voters this summer.

I have personally registered around 750 people to vote this year, and I would guess that around 450 or 500 of them chose to use the last four digits of their social security number (because they had it memorized already and it was easier than getting out their drivers licenses) and based on Coffman’s decision they would not be allowed to vote.

Anti-disenfranchisement groups have decided to sue the Secretary of State’s office and order them to count all voters who followed the instructions on the form, but with the registration deadline rapidly approaching next Monday, voters will have little recourse if the lawsuit does not pass.



  1. They better sue! I’ll gladly donate some money to that legal fund, so keep us posted.

    Comment by randomcha — October 2, 2008 @ 4:31 pm | Reply

  2. yikes. scary stuff that votes can be wiped out over such a ridiculous technicality

    Comment by usp121sgn — October 3, 2008 @ 3:09 pm | Reply

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