Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler (R) sent a letter to approximately 4,000 registered voters asking them to prove that they are actually eligible to vote. The letter targets voters who “presented a non-citizen document when [they] applied for a driver’s license,” although it admits that the fact that someone once applied for a license before becoming a citizen is not proof that they did not become naturalized before registering to vote. The letter includes a form and instructions to return it if the voter is indeed a citizen.
It’s not yet clear what Gessler plans to do to people who do not return the attached form — according to the Denver Post, Gessler merely said that he would “work with county clerks to decide what to do with registered voters who do not respond.” Gessler does have a history, however, of heavy-handed efforts that disenfranchise lawful voters.
In 2011, Gessler prohibited elections officials from mailing ballots to voters who did not vote in 2010 and had not returned a postcard asking them to reactivate their registration. When Denver’s county clerk defied this order, a judge ultimately ruled in her favor, warning that Gessler’s order could irreparably prevent voters from casting their ballot in the next election. Notably, Gessler’s 2011 voter suppression effort was so overbroad it even targeted many military voters who were deployed overseas.