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He's made a public issue of cleaning up voter rolls to purge them of ineligible voters, an effort republicans have launched in multiple states this election year.

Enter the newest announcement from Gessler's office: an unprecedented $850,000 ad campaign on television, radio, and in print to encourage Coloradans to register to vote.

The ads promote a message that it's simple to register to vote in Colorado, or to check your registration information for accuracy. These things can be done on the Secretary of State's website.

Gessler says plans for the ad campaign have been in the works for the better part of a year, but he does hope this proves that he is as serious about registering eligible voters as he is about getting rid of ineligible voters.

"I think it does disprove some of these accusations that unfortunately I think have taken on real partisan tones," Gessler said.

In Gessler's efforts to get non-citizens off the voter rolls, critics say he's confused or scared voters who are eligible, especially among minority groups like Hispanics, who tend to vote for democrats.

But Secretary Gessler pointed to the fact that his ads were produced in English and Spanish.

He defended the fact that the Spanish version of the TV ad was made with much less production effort than the English ads.

The English ads feature a cheery spokesperson playfully interacting with people in various Colorado scenes and boasting about how easy it is to register.

The Spanish ad contains some of the same messages as the English ads, but is simply composed of text and voiceover.

Gessler says giving the same level of production to the Spanish ads would have made the cost impractical.

"The Spanish ad is a supplement to the overall program that we have going on," Gessler said.

He added that careful study was undertaken to get the ads an even amount exposure to all demographics.

Later this week, Gessler's focus will return to dealing with ineligible voters.

His office says it has evidence showing ineligible people have registered and voted in Colorado elections.

Gessler is expected to announce this week an emergency rule to deal with suspected ineligible voters.

When asked whether he intends to remove people from voter rolls, he replied: "I think if there's very, very clear evidence that someone is a non-citizen and we verify that information with the federal government, then I think we have to take some sort of action. That's what this rule is going to address."

Earlier this year, Gessler sent 4,000 letters to voters whose citizenship statuses seemed questionable.

Many were citizens who expressed unhappiness at being questioned. Left-leaning advocates say the letters amounted to intimidation of legally registered voters and that Gessler is doing more harm than good by questioning thousands to get at hundreds, or fewer potential eligible voters.
Critics say he's on a witch hunt.

Hillary Jogensen with the Colorado Progressive coalition called Gessler's efforts "a really unnecessary process and it's sad that it's happening 60 some days before the election."

Gessler's critics also point to state law that establishes a process for local clerks to handle voter eligibility issues.

Gessler says the current system isn't working and it's worth the effort to remove ineligible voters from the rolls, even if there are very few of them.

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