Americans are witnessing an unprecedented right-wing ideological attempt to undermine confidence in our American elections. We have watched as other states and Washington, D.C. have faced attacks on our election security — all led by the Republican Party. And now it’s come to Colorado.
Over and over again, we’ve seen the Colorado Republican Party throw open its doors to election-security misinformation and place proponents of the Big Lie front and center at every opportunity. The only real election security threats have come from indicted Republican County Clerk Tina Peters.
Early this month, hundreds gathered for the so-called “Election Truth Rally” organized by election conspiracy theorist and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell — but the rally was not just some far-right fringe one-off event. It was closely followed by the Republican state assembly, which formally elevated conspiracy candidates like State Rep. Ron Hanks, Tina Peters, and former mayor Greg Lopez to the GOP primary ballot.
These are the next stages in a threatening, coordinated effort to weaken our elections system in Colorado.
No Republican candidate, nor the Colorado Republican party, has disavowed John Eastman, a previous visiting CU Boulder professor, who was the architect of the plan to use the January 6th certification of state election results to flip the presidential election to Donald Trump, and is still making efforts to flip the 2020 election. Eastman also was the primary attorney in a lawsuit by Rep. Hanks and other GOP officials to keep unaffiliated voters out of the Republican primary; the lawsuit has been dismissed by a judge.
Instead of rejecting people like Eastman, the El Paso County Republicans, a Colorado GOP stronghold, invited January 6 insurrection defender and election denier Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia to speak.
The chair of the state Republican party, Kristi Burton Brown — who was identified in court testimony as one-time leader of a group seeking to prove election conspiracy — has said she wants to move on from claims of 2020 election fraud. However, she has taken little to no action to hold Peters or Hanks accountable for their roles in promoting violence and dangerous election conspiracies.
Instead, Burton Brown actually invited Representative Andy Biggs of Arizona to be the keynote speaker for the statewide GOP’s biggest annual fundraiser on April 8th. Biggs is a national voice on election conspiracies and promoted the bogus ‘forensic audit’ of Arizona’s 2020 elections.
Over and over again, we’re seeing dangerous support for election fraud from Colorado Republicans and a lack of clarity on what they plan to do if they are elected. This haziness leads us to wonder about the worst possible outcomes in the name of “election integrity.”
Will they stop mail-in voting? The GOP state delegates endorsed that in a resolution at their assembly on April 9th.
What next? Heidi Ganahl, a Republican candidate for governor, has already declared that the group U.S. Election Integrity Plan – whose armed volunteers have been reportedly harassing voters about their 2020 ballots – is “doing great things.”
Will they take away drop-off ballot boxes and go back to long lines at the polls? Will they remove you from voting registration lists without cause?
Their actions so far have proven that the GOP is reckless. We have the country’s gold-standard for safe elections, but that isn’t stopping the election deniers from coming for Colorado’s trusted system, too.
We know the truth. County Clerks assembled in Denver on April 3rd to remind all Coloradans that no legitimate evidence of fraud or irregularities in our 2020 election has come to light. Additionally, we have audit systems already in place to give us confidence in our elections.
Not all conspiracy theories are harmless. That’s why we have to push back with one voice and say: “Enough.” If the chair of the GOP won’t fully denounce the election-denying wing of the party and even promotes it, who will stand up and speak the truth? Which Republicans will be principled enough to stand up to and disempower a pillow salesman’s lies?
If you’re represented by a Republican in Congress or the state General Assembly, call and ask them where they stand. Anything short of firm support for the proven security of Colorado’s elections is support for misinformation and disinformation. Coloradans deserve to know where every Republican stands.
I can say unequivocally that Democrats will continue to maintain a steady hand protecting our elections, the right to vote, and will unite Colorado instead of dividing it over fallacies and disinformation. Any other course is not just irresponsible–it is dangerous.
Morgan Carroll, of Aurora, is chair of the Colorado Democratic Party.
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