Editorial: Voter records are public for good reason

The Gazette (Colorado Springs): Ignorance of the law is no excuse, and it appears thousands of Coloradans had no idea their voting records were public.

The transparency of voting rolls became a spectacle for the first time in Colorado after President Donald Trump recently requested all 50 states turn over voting records to assist his administration’s investigation into potential voter fraud in the 2016 election. The investigation is on hold, pending a challenge in federal court.

It is odd when the winner of an election seeks to investigate the outcome. The call for open records seems more likely from the team that thinks “Russians interfered with our election.” Nothing makes much sense these days.

Trump hopes to prove he won the meaningless “popular vote,” which has no relevance in an electoral system designed to prevent the special interests of our most populous states from dictating national outcomes.

Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity might be a needless distraction, but it represents the rationale for open records laws found in all 50 states. If voting records are automatically private, we lack the transparency to ensure against widespread fraud. If Russians hack our elections, we’ll benefit from widespread public scrutiny of voting records.

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