Briefline

Election misinformation a top concern of secretary of state, Denver clerk

By: - June 28, 2022 4:13 pm

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, left, with Denver County Clerk Paul López, right, speaks to reporters about Colorado’s primary election, at the Denver Elections Division offices on June 28, 2022. (Quentin Young/Colorado Newsline)

The Colorado secretary of state and the Denver clerk and recorder cited an abundance of misinformation as a concern around the state’s June 28 primary elections.

The remarks came during a morning press conference at the Denver Elections Division offices in downtown Denver.

“There is a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to elections,” Secretary of State Jena Griswold said, encouraging voters to consult the secretary’s website or their county clerk for accurate election information. She later said, “We are seeing the continual use of misinformation, the ‘big lie,’ to further strip away Americans of their freedom to vote and destabilize American elections.”

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Some Colorado activists and candidates for elective office have spread false claims — rooted in former President Donald Trump’s “big lie” alleging widespread fraud in the 2020 election — that election results can’t be trusted.

“I know there’s a lot of misinformation out there,” Denver County Clerk Paul López said. “It is important that when we have a question about our elections processes, don’t listen to the chatter on Twitter. Don’t listen to the chatter on Facebook. Just get a hold of your clerk and recorder. We are happy to take your call.”

Among the candidates who have spread misinformation about elections is Colorado state Rep. Ron Hanks, the top-line Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, who is facing business executive Joe O’Dea in the primary. Hanks recently suggested he might not accept the results from today’s election.

You don't get to say your election is fair only if you win.

– Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold

Asked for a response to candidates who take such a position, Griswold said, “I think it’s troubling when candidates say they’ll only accept results if they win. That’s obviously not how elections work.”

She added, “We are seeing among extreme candidates and election deniers now running for office this embracement of the ‘big lie’ and it’s dangerous. So what I would say to them is you don’t get to say your election is fair only if you win.”

Griswold noted various ways Colorado makes its elections secure, including bipartisan audits of results, the universal use of paper ballots, and two laws that came out of this year’s state legislative session. One law prohibits the open carry of guns at drop boxes and polling locations, and another increases safeguards against insider election security threats. The “insider threats” bill was in part a response to Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters‘ participation in an alleged security breach in her own election office.

Griswold and López said there were no irregularities in Colorado election operations as of the early afternoon, though López reported relatively low turnout — about 17% Tuesday morning.

“Democracy requires our participation,” López said. “It is absolutely critical in every election that we participate, no matter if there’s uncontested ballots or not. It is about our democracy. And it’s about your participation.”

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