A press release on December 8th from Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold celebrated another successful major election in 2020, which this year saw the highest-ever rate of participation by eligible Colorado voters and came second only to Minnesota for the honor of highest participation rate nationwide:
“The 2020 General Election will be remembered as one of the most challenging and successful elections in our state’s history,” said Secretary Griswold. “Colorado rose to the challenge of executing a successful general election during a pandemic by adding access and safeguards. Over 3.2 million Coloradans made their voices heard, setting the highest record number of voters participating in any election held in state history. We are tremendously proud of this success, and I commend my staff and county clerks offices for all their diligent work this year.”
…In addition to a record number of voters participating, Coloradans also embraced the new initiatives that the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office introduced for the election, including statewide BallotTrax and Txt2Cure. A total of 1,771,523 voters (53.8% of all ballots returned) enrolled in BallotTrax. Meanwhile, a total of 11,085 voters utilized Txt2Cure to conveniently cure any signature discrepancies.
This year, voting by mail increased dramatically nationwide in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. But in Colorado, a comprehensive election system built for accessibility featuring mail ballots automatically sent to all active voters and same-day voter registration has been in place since 2013. 2020 was the fourth federal election carried out under House Bill 13-1303’s landmark election reforms, and voters in Colorado are very much at ease with the popular system. Security measures like signature verification have proven effective, and this year an innovative “cure by text” system allowed voters to fix ballots with signature or other problems instead of their votes simply being rejected.
Colorado’s successful history with the exact manner of election that President Donald Trump has seized upon as the excuse for his defeat in the presidential race nationwide is a major logical inconsistency for Colorado Republicans. Although the 2013 election reforms were bitterly opposed by Republicans who warned they would lead to outlandish consequences, many of those same Republicans became defenders of Colorado’s mail ballot system once they saw that it doesn’t actually give either party an advantage–it simply increases access to the vote, which both parties can benefit from. After this year’s election, Colorado GOP chairman Rep. Ken Buck angered diehard Trump supporters by hosting an event with Republican county clerks debunking the conspiracy theories about mail ballots and locally-based election system vendor Dominion Voting Systems.
Unfortunately, none of this was enough to convince a segment of local Republicans determined to side with Trump over their lying eyes. A hearing of the state’s Legislative Audit Committee, convened by a retiring GOP lawmaker because it was one of the only such stunts that could be pulled without the consent of the Democratic majority, devolved into a parody of laughably vague allegations and grudging concessions by local Trump attorney Jenna Ellis that there’s no actual evidence Colorado’s elections were anything but free and fair. In the end, Colorado’s uncontroversial experience discredits the 2020 election “truthers” as well as any of the 50+ court rulings across the country they’ve lost.
In a few weeks, we hope, local Republicans will be able to admit this freely once again like they used to.
That will be nice, because right now their cognitive dissonance is head-splitting.