Right-wing media spread false narratives about non-citizens registering to vote in Colorado

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The Colorado secretary of state’s office mistakenly sent 30,000 postcards containing voter registration information to noncitizens, an accident that right-wing media is treating as evidence of voter fraud. The promotional material was not a registration form, and ineligible recipients would still have been barred from registering to vote if any of them attempted to do so.

The news was first reported by Colorado Public Radioand quickly spread across right-wing media after being picked up by The Associated Press and Fox News website. The postcards were sent to eligible but unregistered voters as part of Colorado’s partnership with the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to voter registration accuracy. But the mailing list pulled from the Colorado Department of Revenue’s driver’s license database did not include formatting to exclude ineligible noncitizens, according at the secretary of state. (Actually, it’s very rare for non-citizens attempting to register to vote due to severe penalties which may include deportation.)

The Conservatives have repeatedly target ERIC with baseless conspiracy theories, and while this episode showed there are controls in place to protect voter rolls, that hasn’t stopped the right-wing media from trying to weaponize this story in their fight long standing against the right to vote.

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon covered the issue on his podcast while interviewing Colorado election official Tina Peters, who faces 10 felony charges for allegedly helping breach security and make copies of Colorado voting records. (She has pleaded not guilty and a trial is scheduled for next year.)

“They can outsmart the system at any time,” Bannon said. “Thank goodness they got caught this time, otherwise you would have had 30,000 non-citizens registered to vote, tipping the scales in Colorado.”

“And we may still have some,” Peters replied. “There’s no guarantee we won’t.”

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