Summit County investigates voter registration forms
BRECKENRIDGE, Colorado ” Summit County, Colorado officials are investigating voter registration forms signed by Rip Van Winkle and a handful of other questionable applicants.
At least six people provided fake driver’s license numbers, and one person tried to register twice, according to registration records. The registrations were conducted by the Barack Obama campaign in Summit County.
The form submitted by “Rip” had a telephone number that actually belongs to a bail bondsman named Al in Kremmling. Al wasn’t happy someone used his number to try to register illegally.
“I’m getting tired of these harassing phone calls,” said Al, who answered the phone number given on the application. He refused to give his last name.
The registration, dated Sept. 13, was caught by the county clerk’s office and turned over to authorities.
Wayne Munster, acting director of elections for Secretary of State Mike Coffman, said voter registration drives have caused a number of problems for county clerks, who are required to verify applications before early voting begins Monday.
Summit County clerk Cheri Brunvand said she turned over about two dozen suspected fraudulent voter registration forms to District Attorney Mark Hurlbert.
Records obtained under the Colorado Open Records Act show a handful of voters in Summit County tried to register using fake driver’s licenses and fake state identification numbers. Others falsely swore that they didn’t have those numbers and instead gave partial Social Security numbers.
Munster said he received complaints that two voter drives, Obama for America and Obama’s Campaign for Change, gave voters misleading information by telling them they could use partial Social Security numbers if they didn’t have their driver’s license with them.
“I actually went to their campaign headquarters a month ago and told them, ‘You guys have got to stop this,'” Munster said. He said the campaign promised to provide additional training to solicitors.
Stephanie Mueller, spokeswoman for the Obama campaign in Colorado, said the Colorado Campaign for Change thoroughly trained its staff and volunteers to follow all state guidelines for voter registration.
Munster said voter solicitors can be caught in the middle if they are given registration forms that are patently fraudulent, like the one from Rip Van Winkle. He said solicitors are required by law to turn in those forms even if they don’t meet state requirements. Decisions on their veracity are up to county clerks.
“We would rather have someone with a database making those decisions,” Munster said.
Sherwood Smith of Breckenridge said Tuesday he was surprised to learn he was under investigation for being registered to vote in two counties, Summit and San Miguel. He said a solicitor for the Obama campaign told him the campaign would change his registration for him.
“They told me they’d take care of it,” Smith said.
Munster said only a registered voter can change his or her voter registration.
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