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Felons on probation allowed to vote

Dennis Webb

About 40 felons have been found on Garfield County’s voter registration lists, according to a review by the county clerk’s office.County Clerk Mildred Alsdorf said she believes none of them will be determined eligible to vote. However, any wishing to cast ballots will be allowed to do so on a provisional basis, and their eligibility will be decided after the Nov. 2 election.Alsdorf’s office reviewed its voter registration lists for possible felons as part of a statewide effort, after reports that about 6,000 felons in Colorado are registered to vote.Felons who are in prison or on parole are prohibited from voting in Colorado, Alsdorf said. Those on probation can vote.Alsdorf said a voting equipment vendor for her office entered a list of felons from the state Department of Corrections into her computer system. Her office was able to compare that against its list of registered voters.She said she also will be working with the county sheriff’s office and court workers to update and expand the list of felons registered to vote.Alsdorf said it’s possible that some felons on the voter list registered before committing their crimes. Voters can go on inactive registration status, but only after not voting in two general elections, she said.She also noted that registration forms don’t ask applicants if they are felons.The forms are created by the Secretary of State’s Office, working with a committee of county clerks, Alsdorf said.She expects the state Legislature and Secretary of State’s Office to work next year on ways to keep ineligible felons off voter lists.”Maybe we’ll have to all the time compare lists,” she said.She said she has spoken to one felon who hopes to be able to vote Nov. 2.”He stated that he would have finished his parole on Oct. 29,” she said.Alsdorf suggested the man bring Department of Corrections documentation that he has served parole, but he said he probably wouldn’t have that paperwork in time. She then said he should talk to his parole officer at the county courthouse to seek proof of his eligibility to vote.”But I’ll have my backup information,” she said.She said judges working with her staff will later review the eligibility of any felons who cast provisional ballots Nov. 2. Many states allow no felons to vote. Alsdorf said she has no problem letting them do so if they have completed their sentences.”I think that everybody should have that right. … If you served your time and everything that makes a difference. I hope they become very good citizens again,” she said.Contact: Dennis Webb, 945-8515, ext. 516dwebb@postindependent.com


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