II. Our Say
Regarding the request to states for voter info
Amber F. McReynolds
Director of Elections for the City and City and County of Denver
I have administered elections in the City and County of Denver for over 12 years and our team has made it our mission to improve the voting experience for all eligible citizens by creating innovative solutions to better serve customers and improve operations. We come to work every day excited about the responsibility and opportunity to serve as election officials. For us, it is about administering one of the most sacred and essential rights we have as Americans.
We have tirelessly worked to make voter registration more efficient and convenient to encourage civic engagement.
I never expected to come to work and see such a sudden increase in voter registration withdrawals. I never expected to see more withdrawals in a day than new registrations.
The impact on voters is real. The impact on civic engagement is real. The impact on election offices is real. Colorado has the highest registration rate as a percentage of population and if this week’s trend continues that could quickly change. Here is the breakdown in Denver since Monday July 3rd, ironically the day before our nation celebrated its independence: (the percentage increase compares the same types of voter transactions over the same number of days during the week of June 26.)
- 2,150 percent increase in voter registration withdrawals.
- 1,833 percent increase in walk-in transactions with voters.
- 790 percent increase email communications from voters.
- 247 percent increase in phone calls from voters.
Here is a sampling of voter comments:
“It seems like an assault on our personal freedoms – of speech and privacy first and foremost.”
“I have concerns that my individually-identifiable information would be misused for illegitimate purposes. I sincerely hope that the Denver Elections Division does not support, or respond to, any such requests involving private information in the future.”
“I am sending this email to state my objection to providing any private information to the commission, should the Denver Elections Division (or the Colorado Secretary of State) be pressured in the future to provide such information.”
“Again, thank you for your efforts in protecting our voting integrity. What we are also gravely concerned about is the follow-up letter coming from the DOJ. Their demand seems very ominous. Will our confidential forms protect us from their demands? It appears that the DOJ may have more clout against the states who want to protect voting rights.”
“I am officially requesting that you DO NOT release my name to the federal government, in terms of my act of voting, or my voting record, or any information at all. Voting should remain a citizen’s private duty, and there is no need to do this. “
“Due to the decision to have my information given without my permission, I would like to have the form sent to me that allows me to unregister as a voter. Please send ASAP.”
“I’m afraid to withdraw my voter registration because some law or rule may change in the interim that won’t allow me to register again.”
“I appreciate that you are handling this matter thoughtfully and with the best interest of Colorado voters in mind.”
According to a recent Pew Research Center study, the top three rights that Americans view as essential to their freedom are the freedom of speech, the right to vote, and the right to privacy. It is understandable that Americans are concerned about this situation.
The Denver Elections Division has fought to modernize election processes and conduct fair, accurate, secure, transparent, efficient elections for our voters. As this issue plays out, it is imperative that the voices of voters and the professionals who are responsible for the day-to-day conduct of elections are heard.