KEENESBURG, Colo. — Colorado's motor-voter registration means more people in Colorado become registered to vote.
Get a license, you become registered. Get registered, you get a mail-in ballot.
Democrats pushed this as a way to get more participation in elections. They likely did not expect hundreds of people to be registered to vote at the same house.
"I'm just a very curious, interested person in a sense, and when I looked at this one address in Weld County, it popped up a lot of people registered there," said Republican Colorado Secretary of State candidate Mike O'Donnell.
O'Donnell shared on Twitter a photo of a duplex in Keenesburg -- 50 minutes northeast of Denver -- and said that as of Dec. 31, there were 418 people registered to vote at the duplex, with 97 still "active."
"I posted it to my 300 followers on Twitter, not expecting that anyone would see it because no one ever see anything that I tweet," said O'Donnell.
That tweet was shared liked and shared thousands of times.
His data was based on the statewide voter list that anyone can buy for $50 from the Colorado Secretary of State's Office.
It is not true that 418 were registered to vote at that duplex with 97 still active. There have been 568 registered to vote at that duplex, with 207 still active.
"If the person who had put the tweet on there had reached out to me, I would have been happy to go through and explain this," said Bryan Anderson. "We run a truck driving school."
Anderson teaches drivers to earn their commercial driver's licenses.
"Colorado state will not issue a commercial learner's permit without a Colorado driver's license first," said Anderson.
That is where that duplex comes into the story.
It is student housing for the out-of-state drivers who come to his school to take the four-week training.
They live in the homes and obtain Colorado driver's licenses at that duplex address.
When you get your license in Colorado, and you are a citizen, you are automatically registered to vote.
With motor-voter registration, a person is not given the option to decline voter registration at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
A letter gets sent to the voter and gives the person a chance to:
- Do nothing and remain registered as an unaffiliated voter
- Choose a party affiliation
- Decline to be registered to vote.
As long as the person does not decline, they will be sent mail-in ballots as active voters.
"Whenever we would get registration packets or any sort of ballot, we return right back to the sender, which is the county of Weld out here," said Anderson. "No funny business."
Republican Weld County Clerk Carly Koppes confirmed that her office has worked with the trucking school since July 2019 about this issue. When the ballots are sent back "return to sender," those voters are converted to "inactive."
Inactive voters are not sent mail-in ballots automatically without reactivating their registration.
"'Well, I wasn't suggesting there was a problem, I'm just highlighting the fact that there are anomalies with the election roll," said O'Donnell.
Ballots being sent to people who no longer live at the home is not a crime. Any election fraud would be someone other than that voter filling out the ballot, signing the envelope and returning it to be counted.