AFSCME Members Fight to Protect Colorado Voters

by Kyle Weidleman  |  April 26, 2012

Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler
Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler

Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler has launched a massive attack on the rights of voters this year. Gessler has been lobbying the state Legislature to block efforts — supported by AFSCME and allied groups — to prevent voters from being considered “inactive” after missing only one election.

The idea that missing a single election would make a voter inactive is so ridiculous that AFSCME members and staff in Colorado are fighting Gessler's anti-democratic rules on multiple fronts. Currently, there is a bill going through the Colorado state Legislature that would fix the definition of “inactive status” by allowing citizens to miss more than one vote without being tossed off the rolls. Local voting clerks across the state support the legislative language that could re-enfranchise up to 300,000 Colorado voters.

AFSCME has also led the way on a “fundamental right to vote” citizens' ballot initiative, that would expand, then lock in, Colorado suffrage rights. This measure would prevent further voter ID legislation, reinstate "inactive" voters and protect Colorado voters from future disenfranchisement. AFSCME and allied organizations are also considering a ballot measure that would take election administration away from the partisan Secretary of State and give it to a nonpartisan election administrator.

The tactic of voter disenfranchisement, whether through deactivation or Voter ID legislation, is part of a larger plan from anti-worker, corporate-funded groups — such as the American Legislative Exchange Council — and their state legislative allies. Taking away working families' voices at the ballot box will make it easier for these groups to take away our voices at the workplace as well.

“It’s outrageous that politicians are trying to stop seniors and working people from voting,” says Donnie Bland, an electrician at University of Denver and president of Council 76. “Voter suppression is real and it's happening in Colorado.”

To counteract these disgraceful attacks by corporate politicians, AFSCME members are registering and re-registering citizens to vote in order to make sure they are not deemed inactive and will receive ballots.

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