Oct 252004
 
Authors: Adam Ebner

In what already has the making of a complicated statewide

election, the secretary of state’s office found 55,000 names

registered multiple times for the election. This gives an

opportunity for potential voter fraud, but state officials believe

proper action is being taken to correct the problem.

On Oct. 1, the secretary of state’s office discovered the

loophole.

Lisa Duran, public information specialist for the secretary of

state, said a Colorado state law and human error combined to create

the flaw.

“There is an eight-year period where state law requires all

voters to remain active in any previous county they are

registered,” Duran said. “The secretary of state’s office sends a

list each month with registration updates to the county clerk’s

offices. This process in theory would omit any names from being

registered twice.”

Duran said county clerk’s offices sometimes neglect to make the

updates, because of large monthly lists. An extended effort is

being made by the state and county offices to remove all duplicate

names since discovering the setback, she said.

Scott Doyle, Larimer County clerk, has kept an updated listing

and is confident the county will be ready on Election Day. Doyle

has seen a number of names come up twice or more when adding new

registered voters.

“Here in Larimer County we have probably come across 1,000

duplicate entries,” Doyle said. “(The county Clerk and Recorder’s

Office) has reason to believe that there might be two possible

instances of fraud, but mostly it’s just people registering voters

to make a couple extra bucks, signing up a few people multiple

times in the process.”

Doyle said Colorado will have a smooth election, despite all of

the possible setbacks.

Mark Eddy, spokesman for Colorado FairVote.org, feels the same

way.

“The way elections work, there are checks and balances in place

to keep these people from voting multiple times at the polls,” Eddy

said. “And while there are always a small group of people who try

to circumvent the law, there is no reason to believe this election

will be manipulated by this limited few.”

Others are not so quick to give their trust. Al Kolwicz,

executive director of Citizens for Accurate Mail Ballot Election,

said that if citizens are able to vote in two different counties or

even different states, they might take liberty and challenge the

system.

“Some citizens have second homes, while others, such as

students, may be registered at home and at school. With no national

database to detect people registered in separate states, they might

attempt to vote twice,” Kolwicz said.

Doyle said Colorado citizens would be advised to stay out of

Larimer County if they have aspirations of voting twice, as they

will be met with a heavy hand and a stern resolve.

“We are all about people voting, but we are also about safe,

verifiable results. If you get caught trying to work the system by

me, I’m going to bust your ass for it,” Doyle said.

The state hopes to have a conclusive answer to this problem in

future elections. The Help America Vote Act is a federal program

that will take effect in 2006. The program is a centralized state

system that updates voter registration in all counties

technologically through the Department of Motor Vehicles.

“This is going to make life a lot easier in the next election,

and we’ll all be very thankful for it,” Duran said.

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