As of July 31, more than 5,000 Coloradans are no longer registered to vote. They self-selected to unenroll prior to their information being sent to the Trump administration’s election integrity commission.
In late June, the request for election records caused backlash across the country and resulted in multiple lawsuits. Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams announced that he would be turning over the publicly available data that he had. Colorado law allows names, address, and party affiliation, as well as a list of which elections individuals participated in.
Since his announcement, 5,300 voters canceled their registration, meaning they can no longer vote in Colorado elections unless they re-register. Only 600 were registered Republicans. Another 246 asked for “confidential” voter status. That allows them to stay enrolled, but not have their data shared. Of those, 18 were Republicans.
In Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties, nearly 100 voters withdrew their enrollment and 60 requested confidential status. Voters do not have to say why they are removing themselves from the rolls, so election officials can’t say definitively that it was the investigation that motivated them. Pitkin County Clerk Janice Vos Caudill, said she hopes those who made that choice will re’enroll before the fall election.
“I’m saddened...it’s like self voter suppression,” said Vos Caudill.
Williams now has a political challenger for his seat in 2018: Democrat Jena Griswold. The former director of Gov. John Hickenlooper’s D.C. office is troubled by the number of people who have un-enrolled, and is worried that the commission will use the data to restrict voter participation.
“They’re really on a witch hunt for non-existent voter fraud, and there is serious concern that we will be facing attempts to roll back our voting rights,” said Griswold during a visit to Aspen. “This has definitely galvanized me in jumping into the race.”
Along with overseeing elections, the Secretary of State is responsible for campaign finance regulations and business licenses.