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March 30, 2021 09:23 AM UTC

Rep. Ron Hanks Doth Protest Much Too Much

  • 2 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols
Rep. Ron Hanks (R).

A total of five pieces of GOP-sponsored legislation intended to monkeywrench Colorado’s “gold standard” election system, credited with giving our state one of of the highest rates of voter participation in the country, went down in flames yesterday in the Colorado House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee–known colloquially under the Gold Dome as the “kill committee” being where the unfavored bills from the minority party go to die.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold summed up the mood of majority Democrats as they went through the parliamentary motions of killing these vote suppression bills yesterday afternoon:

Across the nation, we are seeing a tsunami of legislation to suppress voters and spread the big lie about the 2020 election. Although Colorado is considered the nation’s gold standard for elections, there have been bills introduced to undermine confidence and suppress the votes of Coloradans. I applaud the legislators who rejected these types of election-related bills today. We must keep Colorado’s nationally renowned elections safe, secure, and accessible, and ensure that all eligible voters can have their voices heard.

Of the five bills that died in yesterday’s committee hearing, two were very straightforward vote suppression efforts to redundantly require “proof of citizenship” to register and allow anyone to jam the process by requesting a recount. The other three were bills requesting various duplicative audits and new commissions to examine the supposed problem of election fraud in Colorado. But the state already performs comprehensive risk-limiting audits and other extensive measures to ensure the vote in Colorado is accessible and accurate, and as Republican county clerks across the state will happily tell you there is simply no evidence outside Donald Trump’s fever dreams of a problem requiring any such intervention.

Ands as Pat Poblete of the Colorado Springs Gazette reports, that’s where things took a turn for the weird:

“Many of us on this committee believe the entire reason we’re talking about election fraud is because of a false narrative that was put out there by the 45th president of the United States,” [Rep. Chris Kennedy] said. “And we’re certainly entitled to all have different opinions about that but those kinds of narratives are the very things that shake the confidence in our election.”

Rep. Ron Hanks, R-Penrose, shot back that Kennedy’s comments were “inappropriate.”

“If we are supposed to be exchanging ideas here, labeling me a conspiracy theorist kind of sets me on my heels,” he said. [Pols emphasis] “Rules ought to matter, laws ought to matter and the feelings of the opposition ought to matter and there ought to be some conciliation from whoever the victor is and it’s hard to get that if one side is feeling slighted.”

The problem here is pretty simple: freshman GOP Rep. Ron Hanks is in fact a conspiracy theorist. After attending the January 6th Trump dead-ender rally that devolved into a riot at the U.S. Capitol, Hanks asserted that the rioters “weren’t Trump supporters.” A few days before President Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20th, Hanks actually told supporters that there was still a chance “foreign intelligence” might swoop in at the last moment with proof the Trump won the election.

Like Bill Engvall says, Rep. Hanks, “here’s your sign.”

As we’ve said previously, introducing legislation to undermine Colorado’s election system in the demonstrable absence of any problem is ultimately very bad for the credibility of Republicans pushing those bills. It helps clarify, as has been seen in other states across the country where Republicans wield majority power, that the intent is not to resolve any issue other than Republicans losing elections. Likewise, Rep. Hanks is probably the worst possible choice in the entire Colorado legislature to defend Republicans over baseless conspiracy theorizing about the 2020 elections.

What’s happening in Colorado is so ridiculous, in fact, that it should be a much bigger story. Although these bills will not see the light of day in our state this year, their very existence–and the local Republican stooges pushing them–help expose the fraudulency of the whole effort nationwide.

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