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Secretary of State Debate

October 1, 2010

The Secretary of State race is between Republican Scott Gessler and incumbent Democrat Bernie Buescher. Scott has a small business background and has specialized in election law; Bernie is a lawyer who was appointed to the position by Governor Ritter after Mike Coffmann was elected to the U.S. House and resigned his position. They met for the third debate in the Action 22 forum on September 25th.

Elections are serious business: while we tend to take them for granted, it is important that they be run fairly if only so that the voters can have confidence in the results. An important book on that subject is Stealing Elections by Wall Street Journal writer John Fund.

It is no surprise, then, that the first question was about online voter registration.  Buescher has added this to the Secretary of State website, so he’s for it. He said he worked with the state legislature to get the bill passed and that 28,000 people have used it to register. There is absolutely no proof needed of who you are to register but the process must be completed with the county clerk and recorder’s office. Gessler also supports a limited form of online voter registration but noted that weaknesses in the overall voter registration process have produced extremely bloated voter rolls.

Another question revolved around transparency in the election process. Buescher talked about the TRACER system which has centralized campaign finance reporting requirements, some of which had been held at the county level, to the Secretary of State’s office. Gessler countered that there was a lot of data on the web but not much information. Buescher, in his rebuttal, said that he needed more authority. The pleas for more authority are common among Democrats these days. I don’t think they’re in tune with the mood of the country.

Regarding mail-in ballots, Gessler favored choice–the system we have now. Mandatory mail-in ballots invite massive fraud, as in Oregon where they were first tried. Buesher is in favor of mandatory mail-in ballots; he said that if you give people a choice of mail in or going to the polls, they don’t vote.

This is a big issue with me: the freedom we have in this country includes the freedom to vote or not. In the old Soviet Union voting was mandatory and some Democrats in Congress wanted a bill to make voting mandatory. Mail-in ballots invite fraud. Buescher and House Speaker Terrence Carroll tried to introduce a bill (HB10-0917) toward the end of the legislative session this spring to mandate mail-in ballots; fortunately, it failed.

Another big issue: military and overseas voter ballots, the MOVE Act. There was a question around the 45-day requirement to send out ballots and Buescher said that a union challenge and the Tancredo candidacy were the reason he requested a delay in mailing these ballots out. Gessler corrected the record by noting that six days after the MOVE act was announced on October 9, 2009 Buescher had said that he could not comply–long before Tancredo ever thought of running on the ACP ticket.

In the end, Buescher has been on the wrong side of all the voting issues, whether it is military ballots, mail-in ballots, same-day registration and voting (which he supports), or a requirement for voters to have picture IDs. Further, he is supported by the George Soros Secretary of State project, which aims to put partisan Democrats in those positions nation wide. This hand-picked Ritter appointee has got to go. Fortunately, we have a great alternative in Scott Gessler.

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