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October 19, 2011 04:23 PM UTC

Why does Gessler think "fraud exists" in Denver elections? His office is "not going to comment"

  • by: Jason Salzman

(“We just don’t reach out to ColoradoPols bloggers” – promoted by Colorado Pols)

UPDATE: Bob Moore, former Executive Editor of the Ft. Collins Coloradoan, emailed me about the treatment he got from Rich Coolidge of Gessler’s press office. Moore wrote:

Coolidge stopped responding to me on Larimer GOP questions several weeks before I left. It was very strange. I used to be able to get him to respond virtually any time of the day. But after the dunking booth stuff, nothing. I would have made a bigger deal out of it if I wasn’t on my way out of town.

Moore, who is now the Editor of the El Paso Times, emailed that he would have posted this on Pols himself, but he was having problems accessing his account. So he sent it to me and gave me permission to post it.


For weeks, I’ve been asking Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s media people if Gessler was serious when he said, in a radio interview, that “fraud exists” in Denver elections, and when, on another occasion, Gessler implied that there’s election fraud in Denver.

I’ve left lots of messages and gotten no response.

This surprised me, truly, because you’d think the Secretary of State would want to make it clear either way.

If he thinks there is really fraud, that’s obviously a huge problem that every active, inactive, and dead voter should hear about.

If there’s no fraud, then we should hear this, to put us at ease since Gessler previously said there was fraud.

So I was overjoyed Tuesday when I got Gessler’s media spokesperson Rich Coolidge, instead of an answering machine, when I called his direct line in Gessler’s press office. But disappointment followed.

Jason: Hi Rich. It’s Jason Salzman, a blogger in Denver. I’m very sorry to keep bothering you. I don’t know if you got my messages about whether there’s fraud in Denver elections?

Gessler’s spokesperson: I got the one last week, and we’re not going to comment to you.

Jason: Why?

Gessler’s spokesperson: We just don’t reach out to ColoradoPols bloggers.

Jason: I’m not a ColoradoPols blogger. I post there. You’ve talked to me in the past, and I thought I represent you fairly when you tell me a fact. And if I don’t, you can ask me, and I’ll put whatever you want to say in my blog.

Gessler’s spokesperson: I appreciate that. And you can write whatever you’re going to write, and we understand that. And we’re good to go. We’re not going to comment.

Jason: Isn’t it a basic question of whether you think there’s fraud in Denver elections? I mean, don’t you think that’s a question that you’d want to comment on?

Gessler’s spokesperson: Jason, you’re going to write what you want to write, and that’s fine.

Jason: Last time we talked…

Gessler’s spokesperson: You have your bent. You’re going to post on ColoradoPols. We don’t have anything to say. But thank you for your call. We are not going to comment.

Jason: What if I were just a citizen, or any person, worried about fraud?

Gessler’s spokesperson: You’re going to post it on ColoradoPols, and you are free to do that.

Jason: Well, I won’t. I have a blog; it’s called, and I post on Huffington Post. If you don’t want it on ColoradoPols, I won’t put it on ColoradoPols.

Gessler’s spokesperson: You’re going to do what you’re going to do.  I don’t read your blogs and your pieces. You know, go ahead and write it. And that’s fine. We’re not going to comment. Thanks for your call. I’m going to let you go now.

Jason: There’s nothing I can do? Nothing at all?

Gessler’s spokesperson: No.

Jason: There’s no way we can negotiate this?

Gessler’s spokesperson: No thank you.

Jason: Well okay, thank you very much.

Gessler’s spokesperson: Thank you.

Jason: Have a good day.

Gessler’s spokesperson: You too.

Jason: Bye.

Gessler’s spokesperson: Bye.

Gessler’s spokesman is correct that I write from a progressive perspective.

But I hope that anyone who follows my work knows that I try hard to be fair and accurate, especially when I interview someone. I do my best not to misquote anyone or present their views out of context. I will always update my blog posts with whatever my interviewees want me to add, if they don’t like what I’ve written.


96 thoughts on “Why does Gessler think “fraud exists” in Denver elections? His office is “not going to comment”

  1. Doesn’t mean they have any need to be publicly accountable or be transparent about how they are spending your dollars and my dollars.  Its the GOP way.  The real question–Is Geller’s office criminal or just criminally incompetent?  

  2. Negotiating with a public official to make public comment.

    “There’s nothing I can do? Nothing at all? There’s no way we can negotiate this?”

    Negotiate this? Oh god. Pathetic. This is why access journalism blows and you seldom will read anything that matters in the Denver Post.

      1.  Thinking about it now… How about a written response. I’d take that.

        He has a distaste for ColoradoPols, so I could post it elsewhere, as I suggested.

        He seems worried about how i’d spin his answer. So I’d take his answer and tell him that I wouldn’t comment on it myself. Just lay it out there.

        Basically, is there any way he’d feel comfortable answering the question?

        I’ve asked Caplis and Silverman and Mike Rosen to ask Gessler about it next time he’s on their shows, since the topic came up on their shows. We’ll see where that goes.

        You’d think reporters in town might see what he has to say on this.

    1. than any other journalist in this state to hold Gessler accountable as a public official, so maybe you guys should direct your snotty comments elsewhere.

    1. When Gessler’s office refused to turn over information about the alleged fraudulent voters to the County Clerks.

      Dissing Jason is one thing; dissing the County Clerks is far more serious.

      1. why can’t a clerks office ask for the “factual” info found by the SoS office?  And why can’t voters compel SoS to divulge?

        For the clerks, if vote fraud occurs on their watch (however innocently) and the SoS has proof then they could be called in as an accessory to at least deposed in any case.  The integrity of the clerks could be questioned so I’d think one would demand to see proof, going so far as to take legal action, so they can either alter practices or prove not complicit in any fraud.

        Can Johnson and Hall and other clerk in CO demand he divulge what he knows?


        1. That’s a really good question, VanDammer. I don’t know the answer but there are some folks like Ralph around here that might. I’d like to hear him weigh in because that never even occurred to me before. Good thinking on your part.

          1. If Ralphie doesn’t know, she might. I’ll shoot an email out. Logically, it works; they should have every right to demand that information.

            1. Gessler’s original bullshit “White Paper” about all the illegals in the voter file:


              An exchange of emails between the Mesa County Clerk and State Elections Director Judd Choate about the bullshit “White Paper”:


              A Memo From the Mesa County Clerk to Choate explaining that the Clerks use the Driver’s License database all the time and asking why they can’t use certain data THIS time:


              A press release put out by the Mesa County Clerk on the subject:


              A letter from Larimer County Clerk Scott Doyle, then President of the Colorado County Clerk’s Association, to Gessler, asking for the data and explaining why County Clerks should be kept in the loop:


              A brief time line of the Mesa County Clerk’s efforts to get the relevant data from Gessler’s office, put together by the Clerk:


              Let me know of any of the links are broken.  And thanks to Mesa County Clerk Sheila Reiner from helping me over her lunch hour by resupplying documents I couldn’t reconstruct from my archives.

                1. accusation against Democratic Clerk & Recorders.  Probably too busy putting together his press clippings.

                  Good job Jason for asking “Where’s the Beef” on these slanderous statements by the SOS.

                    1. It is starting to get complicated figuring out which charge he is trying to avoid providing evidence of.

    2. and we all know the effectiveness of repeating a lie.

      They don’t have any evidence but just like WMD, they know there is voter fraud and only need Colin Powell to address the Colorado voters about how serious it is.

  3. Frankly, I’m not sure why this is front paged.  Gessler is a partisan neocon surrounded by braying asses.  We all know that and saying it time and again in one diary or another doesn’t make it any less so.

    Is there an answer, reason why this is true?  Is there a suggestion how Gessler is going to change? Is nagging and pleading with his spokesman going to change anything?  

    Just asking!

      1. this piece o’shit SoS is as partisan as they come.  He’s using his office to deny the vote, suppress the vote, and incite the fear of fraud around the vote.  That’s why, besides Els desire to bury it, we should pay attention!

        Who does Gessler think he works for?  From being sworn in he complained that he wasn’t going to make enough and had to moonlight.  And moonlight where?  At his old job, concerning election law.

        Dude has a serious ethical blind spot or else he’s purposeful in his actions.  Lets keep the spotlight on him and see which way he scurries.  

    1. It’s very hard to gain any profile at all for information on offices most people pay no attention too.  We can’t force our lame local newscasts to cover local politics and issues so whatever journalists like Jason can do to keep this story and others alive anywhere is worth doing. It does contribute to keeping these things covered on local talk radio.  

    2. “You’re going to post it on ColoradoPols.”

      They had every chance to back up Gessler’s assertion made under oath to a congressional committee.  If they had any proof, they’d be eager to put it out there.

      They don’t.  These are them apples.

    3. These people are getting ready to screw Democracy and deliver Colorado’s nine Electoral College votes to the Republicans by any means possible including suppressing the vote in Democratic strongholds.  It’s going to happen and the only thing liberty lovers can do is pay attention to their shenanigans and call them on their bullshit.  

    1. I try. I mix in my opinion with my reporting a lot of the time, so it’s understandable that people think I’m hopelessly unfair. I really don’t want to be unfair. It’s not what I aspire to or believe in.

      1. continuing to post here and at HuffPost gives these false claims and the SoS partisanship well deserved exposure.  Thanks for having the drive & the means of striving for the truth.

      2. You are doing a great service to your community by bird-dogging this jerk.

        I echo the appreciation mentioned above. Thanks for your hard work on this and all the other great reporting you do. Keep it coming!  

  4. Since the spokesperson allegedly doesn’t read Jason’s work (but somehow knows better than Jason or his readers whether or not it’s biased) perhaps Secretary Gessler does not realize how many people are eager to read his answer to Jason’s simple question in this space.

    Shall we ALL leave them voicemails along the lines of, “Hi, I’m ___, I’m an active Colorado voter and a reader of Jason Salzman’s blogs, and as a constituent and voter I want my Secretary of State to tell Jason why he thinks fraud exists in Denver elections?”

      1. The form seems simple enough, likewise the submission process–but what information covered by CORA am I requesting? Is he required to give me his evidence of Denver elections fraud if I just write that?  

          1. Rather than to actually get the information through CORA?

            Sounds like a plan. He wastes my tax dollars disenfranchising voters, I waste them making him refuse to tell me why.

            1. This is a template that has served Twitty well…borrow what you will:

              Submitted via facsimile to  ###-###-####

              Re: [specific nature of request]

              Dear Mr. [Bozo]:

              Pursuant to the Colorado Open Records Act, Colo. Revised Statutes §§ 24-72-203 and 24-72-205, Club Twitty requests the opportunity to review and/or obtain copies of the following records generated, modified, or acquired by the Colorado SoS’s office, its departments, divisions and staff:

              All records (electronic, handwritten notes, meeting notes and participant lists, correspondence-including electronic communications, affidavits, or any other records) generated, modified or acquired by the Secretary of State’s Office and its departments, divisions or staff from county clerks or other election officials within the State of Colorado indicating or documenting any instances of registration, voter, or election fraud; from within the Secretary of State’s office (including reports, analysis, tabulations, etc. of potential or documented fraud); and/or any testimony/affidavits/statements from individuals attesting to registration, voter, or election fraud, since 2002.  

              As you know, Colorado’s Open Records Act requires that the custodian of the records must provide access to the requested records “at the time of the request.”  Colo. Revised Statutes В§ 24-72-203(b).  If the records are not “readily available,” the custodian shall make the records available within three (3) working days or less.  Id.  

              If the custodian chooses to deny access to ANY records, the custodian must provide a written response, which cites the specific grounds for a decision not to disclose records, and such a written response must be provided “forthwith.”  CRS В§ 24-72-204(4).  Accordingly, Twitty hereby requests access to the records requested herein and, if your decision is to deny or delay such access, a written response explaining your decision within three days of receipt of this letter.  Please note that if denial of access to public records is found to be arbitrary or capricious, the custodian of the records may be ordered personally to pay the requester’s court costs and attorneys’ fees, CRS В§ 24-72-204(5), and a willful and knowing violation of any portion of the Open Records Act (including failure to provide a written response as requested herein) constitutes a misdemeanor offense.  CRS В§ 24-72-206.

              This request is made on behalf of Club Twitty, a citizen of Colorado and these great United States, a free and democratic nation where citizens have the right to understand the workings of their government and hold their duly elected leaders to account.  

              Release of the records described in this request will primarily benefit the public.

              Club Twitty will make the information obtained from this request available to the public and to the media in the interest of open, honest government and transparency.   Release of the information will empower Colorado’s electorate and the public to better engage in their participatory government, to engage in public advocacy, and further efforts to protect and defend honest governance.  Club Twitty does not seek these documents for commercial use.

              Accordingly, Club Twitty requests that you grant a waiver of fees.  If a waiver is not granted, please inform the undersigned if the requested documents are voluminous (more than 100 pages, or if copying fees exceed $ 25.00).  If such is the case, Twitty would be happy to review the documents prior to their reproduction.

              Please feel free to call me at 970-xxx-xxxx if you have any questions.  You can send your response to:

              Club Twitty

              1234 Gaspatch Way

              Drilltown, CO

              Thank you for your attention to this matter, and thank you for your prompt cooperation.  Twitty looks forward to reviewing the records.


              Club Twitty

        1. Ask for the documentation supporting the statement that there is evidence of Denver elections fraud. Cite the CORA “,Open records request per C.R.S. 24-72-203” and ask to “review” the documentation.  Request a written receipt to acknowledge your request and that a time be set within three days to review the documents.

          Then set up a diary and let us know what happens.  

          1. If SoS denies your request, you have the option of going to court.  That could cost about $10,000.  This is where some organization with money should step in and help you.

            If you prevail in court, I believe that the SofS (read: us taxpayers) will have to pay court expenses…..I would consider that tax money well spent.

            1. Got subpoenaed to testify against a drunk driver, figured if I have to go I might as well dress for the occasion. Would be kinda fun to wear it more than once, and get to talk to lawyers about a type of law I so far know nothing about… but I think we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.

  5. They already know what the orders are for the Republican operatives who are assigned this back water spot on the Internet.  No need to bother informing their operatives of things that have already been gone over at the office with the approved talking points.

    “Say nothing factual but keep alive the insinuation and narrative that there “is” voter fraud in Denver county.”

  6. You’re not a journalist, you’re an advocate.  I wouldn’t talk to you if I were in their shoes, either.

    Should Ritter have talked at length with Peter Boyles about what Boyles was accusing he and Villafuerte of?

    1. First of all, if Ritter had made an alarming assertion (on the order of “fraud exists” in Denver elections), then yes, reasonable people would have expected Ritter to release evidence to support the claim and make a clear statement to back up such a thing.

      But in your attempted analogy, Boyles was the one making an alarming assertion, so it was up to Boyles, not Ritter, not provide proof and answer questions. Jason is simply asking Gessler to elaborate on his alarming assertion. Why can’t Gessler at least release some kind of a statement addressing the issue? If Gessler really has examples of voter fraud, why won’t he elaborate on it?

      And are you acknowledging that no reasonable person should ever submit to being “interviewed” by Faux News?  

    2. It appears to me that it is Sec. Gessler that has made serious accusations.

      Is it unreasonable that a citizen of Colorado (biased or not) ask for the evidence that was used by Sec. Gessler to inform his accusations?

      Maybe … if you’re outTHERE.

    3. ass-Boyles was dealing w/ innuendo and attempting a personal smear.

      Jason is dealing with the question of fraud in CO elections posed by Gessler himself.  Fuxsake, there was enough bait for some asshole in D.C. to bite — so much so he flew Scottie up for a little Congressional testimony.  

      How could the two ever compare?  Guess you sucked @ apple:oranges analogies …    

    4. I never realized how good we had it when there were non-paid conservatives on this site like Laughing Boy who could acknowledge facts and argue with logic.

      I’m expecting more locust to show up as 2012 winds along.  And this gas bag will probably be quick to tell us how important transparency and honest are for government officials.

    5. then journalists certainly should have asked him upon what solid evidence those accusations were  based, outTroll.  It is Gessler making the accusations, genius.

  7. SCOTT GESSLER HAS BEEN UNDER SEIGE BY THE DEMOCRATS FROM THE DAY HE TOOK OFFICE. Democrats and their puppets (including this blog) have attacked everything he has done no matter how miniscule its effect.

    Just as one example, Gessler has made it a top priority to secure business information with password protection. DavidThi808, a business owner, complained about this constantly when Buescher was in charge, but gives Scott NO credit for it. What makes you think he is getting a fair shake?

    Gessler told Denver and Pueblo to not send ballots to inactive voters. NOT BECAUSE HE DOESN’T WANT PEOPLE TO VOTE. Because all the other counties are not sending to inactive voters!!! It’s not fair to all the other counties if Denver and Pueblo are distributing ballots to a bigger number of people. It’s a very small percentage, but there is the principle. If a statewide election is close it could make the difference — and THAT WOULD BE UNFAIR. But all of you assume he is suppressing the vote because he’s a racist or something. It’s wrong!

    I’m sorry to rant but you people do not seem to get it. You’re psychotically fixated on demonizing Gessler. I don’t know what you think you’re getting out of this campaign, maybe Bernie is paying you. But what you’re doing, not just you but a lot of liberal media, is wrong.

    1. Poor Scott has been acting egregiously since the day he took office. You can’t cry about people taking notice and pointing it out.

      You’re right – we see problems, and “don’t get” why they’re not to be seen as such. Your desperate and inaccurate spin doesn’t help your boy Scott much.

    2. FACT: Gessler has alleged voter fraud in Denver.

      FACT: He won’t show a damn thing to support this allegation.

      FACT: You NEVER have an explanation for it.

      1. And I feel like an idiot because I missed the whole outing thing until checking in just now. Wouldn’t have addressed my comment to “outTroll” had I known.  Not a troll. Point still stands but not a troll.

        And if Cronk really was asking all over the place about a poster’s identity, shame on Cronk. Shame on idiots making nasty calls. I think it would be perfectly legit for victim to disclose identities of those making such calls if their identities are known to the victim and if they post here, they ought to be banned.

        Also, isn’t it customary for outings to be nipped in the bud by removing all traces from thread as quickly as possible?  Usually if you don’t happen to be on the blog when this happens, when you return a chunk is missing and somebody’s been banned and you have to try to piece it together from scraps.

    3. You can come up with lame one-liners, but not an answer of substance to this question: Why isn’t Gessler showing the evidence – to the people, that is, not some other office – that supports his allegation of voter fraud in Denver?

      1. There are two classes of citizens in the country.  Those who belong to the United States of Republicans and those who don’t.  Members of the United States of Republicans get privileges bestowed upon them that the “other” are denied.

        If Jason had been affiliated with the United States of Republicans, this government employee who works for the Secretary of State for all of Colorado would have been happy to provide the details but since Mr. Salzman is one of the “other”, he is not eligible to receive this information.

        Republicans have this dual citizenship status mindset.  This leads to their preferential treatment towards fellow Republicans like announcing meetings of Congressional House Representatives to constituents of the United States of Republicans but not to the “others” or giving Republicans discounts on their fines.  Their logic is simple.  If you are not one of us, you no chance to get equal treatment.  If you are one of us and can do the invisible hand of Adam Smith ritual then all will be revealed.

      2. treatment of constituents is that they have no evidence and the only objective is to make any voter numbers coming from Denver County “suspicious” because there is something fishy about them because of all their voter fraud.

        They can’t provide a shred of evidence that there is anything more fishy about Denver County voting than El Paso County but that doesn’t stop the innuendo and stone walling and thundering pronouncements that if only you, Jason, weren’t a second class citizen you would be in the know.

        And these clowns really believe that they are the guardians of Democracy.  Holy shit.  What assholes and traitors to our Founding Fathers principles.

    4. and clerks from conservative counties are really ‘stealth liberals’ and secret Democrats, so your ‘argument’ probably makes ‘sense’ in your head.  But out here, where the sky usually appears blue and objects fall toward earth, its not just ‘Democrats and their puppets…’

    5. But it is his own doing.

      The man has no sense of ethics, yet serves in a position that requires the utmost ethical behavior.

      The SoS is supposed to treat elections in a non-partisan manner, yet every (erroneous) move this SoS has made has been calculated to hurt D’s and help R’s.

      This SoS has, at least twice now, made determinations which were counter to what the law says; impeachable acts if he could not count on the Speak of the House to protect him from impeachment.

      I, for one, expect integrity from my SoS, I doubt this one can even spell the word.

      And, BTW, I am not a Democrat. I supported Gessler’s candidacy. But now I see this SoS is just an SoB who needs to be removed from office. Preferrably sooner than later!

    6. such a blind fool?

      But all of you assume he is suppressing the vote because he’s a racist or something.

      We assume he is suppressing something because he made an accusation and won’t back it up.

      Oh, and this little gem really is stupid.

      Democrats and their puppets (including this blog)

      puppets?   seriously? what a crock. And one more thing…will you please refrain from shouting?

    7. if he knew imbeciles like this one were his political heirs.  It’s like the progeny of Mozart not being able to read music.  These morons have no clue how to construct a rational argument.

      Earth to asshole.  This isn’t about Scotty trying to screw over inactive voters.  It is about unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud.

      I would say try contributing something relevant to the topic under discussion but the rest of us know you’re a one and done spammer.  Get in.  Post something stupid that has nothing to do with the issue.  Make it sound very victimish and then disappear.  This one was no different from all the other posts by this mental midget.  Just saying the informal fallacy here is Ignoratio Elenchi (irrelevant conclusion).

    8. Unfortunately, Gessler could not get a judge to agree with his interpretation.  The ballots have gone out to registered voters, active or inactive.

      This is a fast paced blog, here, bud, got to keep up.

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