The Campaign Spot

The Democrats’ Silly, Dishonest Excuse of ‘Voter Suppression’ in Colorado

David Axelrod joined DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and former state senator Angela Giron in blaming “voter suppression” for Tuesday’s successful recall election against Giron and state senator John Morse.

The term “voter suppression” implies someone making an effort to prevent people from voting, which is not what happened here, where the elections were amply covered in local, state, and national media and all of the usual polling places were open for all of the usual hours, with no intimidation or other obstacles. The core of the Democrats’ argument is that because voting by mail was limited, some sort of nefarious authorities have prevented Coloradans from casting votes.

The lack of voting by mail stems from a lawsuit by the state’s Libertarian party, contending that the Colorado secretary of state’s office and county clerks did not give them the legally required amount of time to gather signatures to get their candidates on the ballot. On August 12, district-court judge Robert McGahey ruled the party had ntil August 26 to gather enough signatures to get on the ballot — meaning the county clerks wouldn’t have enough time to print and mail ballots to voters for the September 10 election.

The confusion stems in part from House Bill 1303, a sweeping elections bill passed by Colorado Democrats this year (including Giron and Morse) that requires all mail-in elections. McGahey called that new law “flawed” in his decision, declaring that its deadlines conflict with deadlines specified in the state constitution.

Democrats have yet to spotlight a Coloradan who wanted to cast a ballot but could not. And there’s simply no evidence that Tuesday’s results were a fluke result from some minuscule group of voters.

Turnout for the 2010 Colorado State Senate election in the state’s third state-senate district, electing Angela Giron to a four-year term, was 45,140.

Turnout in Tuesday’s recall election was 34,556.

In other words, turnout for the recall was about 76 percent of the most recent “normal” Election Day turnout — when voters are coming out to vote in the governor’s race, the U.S. Senate race, House races, etc.

Turnout for the 2010 Colorado State Senate election in the state’s eleventh state-senate district, electing John Morse to a four-year term, was 28,712.

Turnout in Tuesday’s recall election was 17,485 — about 60 percent of the “normal” turnout.

That’s pretty good for a special election for one state-level district office in early September. For comparison, when a special U.S. House election was held in Chicago earlier this year, 81,819 votes were cast, which was 43 percent of the 2010 turnout.

Democrats like to throw around the figure of what percentage of registered voters voted, but turnout is always significantly below 100 percent. Colorado’s statewide turnout was 48.4 percent in 2010; in the much-hyped presidential year of 2012, it was 67 percent.

The claim of “voter suppression” has a clear subtext: It’s not our fault, the voters really love our positions. It’s probably easier to lie to the electorate if you begin by lying to yourself.

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