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

(“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 BigMedia.org, 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 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ClubTwitty says:

    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. jaytee says:

    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.

    • gertie97 says:

      Remember your real journalism, Jason. Negotiate what? Either he’d comment or he wouldn’t.

      • Jason Salzman says:

         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.

    • MichaelEllis says:

      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.

  3. BlueCat says:

    that they have absolutely nothing and know that any statement they make will be fact checked to their disadvantage..  

  4. DaftPunk says:

    In Gessler’s (and every other vote suppressing Republican’s) claim that voter fraud is a rampant problem.

  5. Ellie says:

    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!

    • DavidThi808 says:

      If we leave Gessler alone because that’s what he is, then we’ve accepted a further corrupting of the political sphere. It’s good that we remain outraged over this.

      • VanDammer says:

        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.  

    • Ralphie says:

      You’ve got to flip on the lights once in a while.  It makes the cockroaches scatter.

    • BlueCat says:

      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.  

    • DaftPunk says:

      “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.

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      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.  

  6. DavidThi808 says:

    And it’s total bullshit that Gessler’s office will not comment on the most significant accusation Gessler has made as SOS.

  7. ProgressiveCowgirl says:

    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?”

    • Ralphie says:

      would do a lot more than phone messages.

      They have to respond.

      • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

        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?  

        • Ralphie says:

          But try to be as specific as possible.

          Also tell them to call or email you with an estimate before they duplicate anything and you incur charges.

          They will deny the CORA request.

          • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

            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.

            • ClubTwitty says:

              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

        • dwyer says:

          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.  

  8. Gilpin Guy says:

    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.”

  9. Aristotle says:

    Bummer. His spin is always the best part of these diaries.

  10. outTHIS says:

    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?

    • MichaelEllis says:

      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?  

    • ardy39 says:

      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.

    • VanDammer says:

      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 …    

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      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.

    • BlueCat says:

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

  11. ArapaGOP says:

    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.

    • Aristotle says:

      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.

    • Aristotle says:

      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.

      • BlueCat says:

        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.

    • Aristotle says:

      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?

      • Gilpin Guy says:

        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.

      • Gilpin Guy says:

        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.

    • ClubTwitty says:

      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…’

    • Alexei says:

      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!

    • dukeco1 says:

      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?

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      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).

    • dwyer says:

      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.

  12. Middle of the Road says:

    Thanks for adding that.  

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