El Paso County woman receives postcard for deceased husband to register to vote

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EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — An El Paso County woman is speaking out after receiving a postcard addressed to her late husband, reminding him to register to vote.

The woman received it in the mail from Democrat Secretary of State – Jena Griswold’s office.

The viewer, who wants to remain anonymous, says her husband passed away in 2013. His death was confirmed by FOX21 with the Medical Examiner’s Office.

“It could have been an honest mistake or it could have been an attempt to try to get someone to register to vote who was not in fact qualified to do so – in this case, not qualified due to being previously deceased,” said the woman.

The postcard says the following:

Our records indicate that you or a member of your household may be eligible to vote, but do not appear to be registered at your current address.

“I thought, I’m probably not the only person in the state of Colorado who has been widowed getting a communication like this addressed to their deceased former spouse, and really just raised my suspicions more than anything,” said the woman.

The woman says she wants the Secretary of State to know that she doesn’t think it is the best thing to be sending out the postcards to family members of deceased loved ones.

“I’d like to know that only qualified voters can vote and qualified voters can only cast one vote and that the very important institution and our constitutional republic of citizens being able to vote for the candidate of their choice is protected and respected and that all fraud is weeded out of the system,” said the woman.

The postcard lists the following Colorado Voter Eligibility Requirements:

  • 18 years old by Election Day
  • United States citizen
  • Colorado resident for at least 22 days before the next election

The Secretary of State’s Office told FOX21 that the mistake was not made by their office – but by the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC).

The postcard mailing list is provided by ERIC, an organization which uses records from the DMV to help identify potentially eligible individuals.

The postcard printing and processing was $0.04 per card and they were sent by non-profit rate mail that was about $0.088 per card. It is funded with Secretary of State general funds, which come from filing fees, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

The Secretary of State’s Office released a statement explaining how the postcard mailing list is not the same as Colorado’s voter roll list:

“This election information postcard was first sent under Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler and continued throughout the tenure of Republican Secretary of State Wayne Williams. The postcard clearly states in bold that to be an eligible voter, a person must be a citizen, 18 years old by the election, and reside in CO for 22 days before the election. As in past years, the postcard mailing list is provided by the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a national bipartisan election organization which uses records from the DMV to help identify potentially eligible individuals. The list is compared to other information, such as the Social Security Death Index to remove people from the mailing. The mailing list is not the same as Colorado’s voter rolls, as by definition it targets unregistered people.” 

Colorado Department of State Spokesperson Betsy Hart

The list is then compared to other information, such as the Social Security Death Index to remove people from the mailing list.

According to the Colorado Department of State’s Office, the postcard was a general information mailer and does not register anyone to vote.

The Colorado Department of State’s Office released the following statement to FOX21 on Wednesday regarding the voter registration roll list maintenance:

“Our office has maintained a statewide voter registration database (known as SCORE) since May of 2008. SCORE is a real-time database used by every county for voter registration and election management activities. As the chief election official for the state, the Secretary sets the policies for use of the system in compliance with state and federal law. As the registrar of voters and chief election official for his or her county, each county clerk follows the policies set by the state in conducting registration and list maintenance activities.

List maintenance activities and statewide policies

Under Colorado law, a county must establish minimum matching criteria before canceling or transferring a voter registration record. This requirement ensures that there are at least three points of confidence in electors’ information to prevent their records from being canceled or consolidated in error. Minimum matching criteria are outlined in statute and rule as the elector’s name, date of birth, and any one of the following: 1) Colorado driver’s license number; 2) last four digits of the Social Security Number; or 3) residential address.

1) Canceling due to death

Each month the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) provides our office with a list of Colorado residents who have died in the previous month. This list is uploaded to SCORE and is available on about the first business day of each month. The full list of deceased individuals is available and searchable in SCORE. In addition, the system identifies and flags records for each county that appear to have a matching record in the current month’s list. Counties review the information to determine whether minimum matching criteria are met and cancel registration records accordingly.

In addition to the information provided by CDPHE, our office has access to the national Social Security Death Index through our membership in the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC). We search this index monthly and provide relevant potential matches to each county for review and cancelation as necessary. Furthermore, counties cancel registration records of deceased electors when they receive written confirmation of death from electors’ families.”

Colorado Department of State Spokesperson Betsy Hart

Canceling due to death was listed, as well as canceling convicted felons, change-of-address processes, and canceling for inactivity.

On Wednesday, Colorado Republican Party Chairman Ken Buck sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr and the Federal Election Commission Chairman, asking that they open an investigation into the postcards.

This comes after a statement on Tuesday, where Buck asked Griswold to release the full list the postcards went to, as well as working with his staff and explaining how the registration campaign was executed.

>>Click here to read the full letter from Ken Buck to AG William Barr.

FOX21 will continue to follow this story and keep you updated.

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