Thursday, January 27, 2011

‘Proof of Citizenship to Vote’ dies in committee

A packed hearing room heard testimony Wednesday from both sides of a measure that would require proof of citizenship to register to vote, before the bill was voted down on a party line vote.

Senate Bill 18, sponsored by Sen. Ted Harvey, R-Highlands Ranch, enumerates various types of identification such as a birth certificate or passport, that would suffice for the purpose of verifying citizenship when registering to vote. Current law does not require the proof. Harvey told the Senate State, Veterans, & Military Affairs committee that his bill does what some may think is a given.

“This bill codifies in statute what most people think is already in place,” said Harvey.

Colorado’s Secretary of State Scott Gessler came to testify in favor of the bill citing numerous instances when non-citizens may have voted.

“I do believe there is a vulnerability in our system,” said Gessler.

Those in opposition to the bill had concerns about disenfranchising citizens who may not be able to readily produce the necessary documents, a concern that was echoed by committee member and Democratic President Pro Tem Sen. Betty Boyd of Lakewood.

“A lot of us are not aware of those citizens who have different lifestyles are not able to obtain the necessary documents,” said Boyd. “We shouldn’t consider these people as unworthy to vote. They deserve access to their rights of citizenship.”

Those in favor of the measure argued that procuring documents that prove citizenship is not so arduous a task to forfeit the integrity of elections. Harvey argued the voters benefit by assurances of citizen only voter rolls.

“This bill is about election integrity,” said Harvey. “It ensures that votes of legal voters are not diluted or cancelled out.”

Via - Colorado News Agency

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