Many of these “failed” voters included military men and women who were still on active duty. When the military voters were brought to his attention, Gessler stated, “my office’s position remains the same.” Aghast at such overreaching infringement on voter rights, the Denver County clerk Debra Johnson disobeyed the order and decided to send the ballots anyway. Gessler took her to court to prevent her from sending the ballots — and lost.
Gessler insisted that the election law that states “the designated election official shall mail to each active registered elector” means that ballots for inactive voters is strictly prohibited. Denver District Judge Brian Whitney, however, ruled differently on Friday. Whitney noted that while Gessler “hadn’t shown there would be irreparable harm if the ballots are sent,” it “is irreparable to disenfranchise a voter“:
In his ruling on a request for a preliminary injunction, Whitney said that at worst, the results of Denver’s election Nov. 1 could be called into question, but he said that could be repaired with a special election.
“It is irreparable to disenfranchise a voter,” Whitney ruled. “It is a fundamental right to be able to vote.”
Gessler vowed to continue the fight. “Unfortunately, the judge’s decision today allows counties to operate this election differently based on how much money they have. We’ve seen constant erosion of personal responsibility and this decision continues that erosion,” he said. “Coloradans can continue to expect my office to enforce the laws on the books.”
Any inactive voter in Colorado can update their voter registration at the Secretary of State’s website.