“Gypsy voting” causes concerns in Colorado
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. — A different form of voter fraud is causing concern for the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder.
It’s called Transient voting, or “Gypsy voting.”
The newly enacted “Voter Access and Modernized Election Act” removes the waiting period between a person moving to a new district, and being able to vote in that district. Residents can now register a new address and vote in their new district in the same day.
The process is simple. According to the text of the bill, they only need to provide the new permanent address, promise “it is their sole place of legal residence” and “swear the information provided on the form is true” under penalty of perjury. Then by law, they must be given a ballot.
“It comes down to their honor and willingness to risk possible criminal prosecution,” El Paso County Clerk Wayne Williams said.
Williams said he fears people can state their “intent” to move to District 11 prior to the recall vote, citing a fake or temporary address and then move their legal address again afterward.
“This bill only allows prosecution afterwards instead of prevention beforehand. So, this last presidential election for example, we had an individual who submitted 5 different voter registrations. But, we caught that before the ballots went out so that individual didn’t get the chance to vote 5 times. The problem with the new law is that check went away,” Williams said.
Monday saw the second highest voter turnout of State Senator John Morse’s recall election with a total of 12,985 residents turning in ballots. 122 of those who’ve voted so far are new registrants, or have just changed their registration to El Paso County.
The law now requires suspicious registrations to be passed along to the District Attorney to investigate. Alerts could be raised if the person doesn’t eventually claim the move in other areas. For example, registering their vehicle to the new address, switching utilities bills at the address to their name or changing the address on their driver’s license.
But, Williams said that’s not enough to quell his concerns about tomorrow’s recall results. His biggest concern is once a ballot is cast, it can’t be taken back. That’s a protection in place for any voter’s anonymity.
“Despite who they voted for, they might be cheering for them from the criminal justice center, but the individual will still have recieved that vote,” Williams said.
If you haven’t voted in the recall election and still would like to cast a ballot or register, voting is open Tuesday, September 10 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Any voter in line at a Voter Service and Polling Center before 7:00 PM will be allowed to vote as long as they stay in line.