Government Accountability

Secretary of State Scott Gessler

Voter Suppression - Inactive Voters


Colorado's top election official is using state money to prevent registered Coloradans from voting. Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s fight with Denver County over mailing ballots to registered voters who missed 1 general election is not over yet. 

On October 7th a Denver judge allowed Denver County to mail ballots to its residents who are marked ‘inactive – fail to vote’ because they did not vote in the last general election.  Since the court ruling 9 additional counties have decided to mail ballots to these so-called inactive voters.   

Secretary Gessler argues that the law prohibits counties from mailing to these voters.  The reality is that the Colorado election code, particularly in mail ballot elections, demonstrates that the legislature intended to increase voter participation, not decrease participation in Colorado elections.

Colorado Common Cause has asked to join this case because making it more difficult for Coloradans to vote violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments to U.S. Constitution in addition to Article 2, Sections 5 and 10 of the Colorado Constitution.


CCC’s motion to intervene says that Gessler’s actions would violate the free speech and equal protection guaranteed in the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The Colorado Constitution also guarantees political expression and an eligible elector’s right to vote.  On November 16, 2011, Denver District Court Judge Brian Whitney granted Colorado Common Cause's request to intervene in the case.

Filings and Documents

Press Release: Colorado Victory: Judge Rules for Voting Rights (January 21, 2013) - NEW

Press Release: Colorado Common Cause Granted Intervenor Status in Gessler v Johnson (November 16, 2011)

Press Release: Colorado Common Cause Files to Intervene in Gessler v. Denver (October 5, 2011)


Order for Summary Judgement - NEW


Ruling on CCC Motion to Intervene

Colorado Common Cause Motion to Intervene

Colorado Common Cause Answer and Counterclaims


Secretary of State Gessler Complaint

Secretary of State Gessler Motion for Preliminary Injunction

Denver County Clerk and Recorder Response in Opposition to Motion for Preliminary Injunction

Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder Letter to Secretary Gessler

U.S. House of Representatives Letter to U.S. Department of Justice

Amicus Brief in Opposition to Motion for Preliminary Injunction on behalf of Mi Familia Vota Education Fund and Urban League of Metropolitan Denver

Motion to File Amicus Brief


Media Coverage

The Denver Post

Editorial: Goal should be to activate Colorado's inactive voters (October 16, 2011)

Congressmen ask U.S. to look into Gessler lawsuit against Denver clerk (September 18, 2011)

Editorial: Hindering valid votes in Denver (September 22, 2011)

Littwin: Now is the time for the dunk tank (September 22, 2011)

Brown: Guessing at Gessler's Motives (October 7, 2011)


The Pueblo Chieftain

Editorial: A loss for Now (October 16, 2011)

Secretary of state sues Denver over mail ballots (September 22, 2011)

Crowd Gathering Over Court Battle on Inactive Voters (October 7, 2011)

The Colorado Independent

Gessler lawsuit launched against Denver County sounds voter-suppression alarm bells (September 22, 2011)

Scott Gessler is making a name for himself (October 6, 2011)

Paid Sick Days campaign 'outraged' by Gessler lawsuit against Denver (October 7, 2011)

The Boulder Daily Camera

Don't Get Out the Vote: Secretary of State working against Colorado Voters (October 6, 2011)

The Westword

Rachel Maddow takes on Scott Gessler over voting lawsuit against Denver (VIDEO) (October 5, 2011)




Scott Gessler's suit against Denver County for inactive-voter mailings shameful, says ACLU (September 26, 2011)


The Colorado Statesman

SoS, Pueblo spar over inactives (October 3, 2011)


The Fort Collins Coloradoan

Secretary of State's Case Goes to Court (October 7, 2011)

Editorial: City Council makes right call to mail ballots (October 7, 2011)