The Urge to Purge

November 1 2004, 1:07 PM
In yet another bit of fine PR for the state of Colorado, Harper's Contributing Editor Greg Palast takes a look at the Secretary of State's office, and finds a system being abused for partisan purposes:
Colorado Secretary of State Donetta Davidson just weeks ago removed several thousand voters from the state's voter rolls. She tagged felons as barred from voting. What makes this particularly noteworthy is that, unlike like Florida and a handful of other Deep South states, Colorado does not bar ex-cons from voting. Only those actually serving their sentence lose their rights.
There's no known, verified case of a Colorado convict voting illegally from the big house. Because previous purges have wiped away the rights of innocents, federal law now bars purges within 90 days of a presidential election to allow a voter to challenge their loss of civil rights.
To exempt her action from the federal rule, Secretary Davidson declared an "emergency." However, the only "emergency" in Colorado seems to be President Bush's running dead, even with John Kerry in the polls.
Why the sudden urge to purge? Davidson's chief of voting law enforcement is Drew Durham, who previously worked for the attorney general of Texas. This is what the Lone Star State's current attorney general says of Mr. Durham: He is, "unfit for public office... a man with a history of racism and ideological zealotry." Sounds just right for a purge that affects, in the majority, non-white voters.
From my own and government investigations of such purge lists, it is unlikely that this one contains many, if any, illegal voters.
But it does contain Democrats. The Dems may not like to shout about this, but studies indicate that 90-some percent of people who have served time for felonies will, after prison, vote Democratic. One suspects Colorado's Republican secretary of state knows that.