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October 21, 2022 09:51 AM UTC

Eagle County GOP Fumbles with Voter Suppression Efforts

  • by: Colorado Pols
Image of text message sent by Eagle County Republicans (via Vail Daily)

Eagle County Republicans are attempting to confuse Unaffiliated voters in the final weeks of the election by sending out text messages encouraging voters to wait until Election Day to cast ballots in person.

As Scott Miller of Vail Daily first reported earlier this week:

Several unaffiliated voters in Eagle County on Oct. 14 received text messages encouraging them to vote in person Nov. 8. The messages claim to be from the Eagle County Republican Party.

Tony Martinez, the chairman of the Eagle County Republican Party, declined to give a statement on the subject. But a page on the party’s website urges voters to “Vote in person November 8th by visiting your Polling center before 7 p.m. We must overwhelm the system and not stay home.”…

…The text message also matches an Oct. 12 meeting announcement email from the Eagle County Republicans to members of the Eagle County party’s central committee.

That message reads, in part, “Wait! Did you get your ballot? Hold on to it until Election Day, November 08, 2022, then drop it into the ballot box the day of the election, if possible.

It’s not clear that this strategy will pay any real dividends for the Eagle County GOP, however:

Vail Valley Partnership CEO and President Chris Romer has been an unaffiliated voter since 2016. Romer said he received one of the text messages.

“I don’t understand the end game,” Romer said, adding that the message “essentially feels like a lack of faith in the election system.”

Tony Martinez, Eagle County Republican Chairman and the last person you would ever want to provide you with an alibi.

Seth Klamann of The Denver Post has more on this cartoonishly-nefarious scheme apparently “masterminded” by Tony Martinez, who was selected as the new Eagle County GOP Chairman in late June after longtime Chairwoman Kaye Ferry was removed for vague grievances. We put the word “masterminded” in quotes for reasons that will become obvious momentarily.

As Klamann writes:

Tony Martinez, leader of the county party, refused to say if the GOP was responsible for the messages in an interview with The Denver Post. He repeatedly said the organization has “no official statement or position.”

Regina O’Brien, the county clerk and top election official, said she had spoken with Martinez and that he would not confirm the origin of the messages with her, either. He also did not provide an explanation to the Vail Daily, which first reported about the messages Wednesday. The county’s Republican Party website also encourages residents to vote in person and says voters “must overwhelm the system and not stay home.”

Obviously these messages did in fact originate from Martinez and/or the Eagle County Republican Party, but if you’re still undecided, Martinez essentially gives up the game when faced with just a few more questions:

In an interview with The Denver Post, Martinez repeatedly questioned why the text messages were worthy of media attention when pressed on whether the Eagle County Republican Party had sent them, as the texts indicate it had. He criticized the Vail Daily article and said the newspaper made party officials seem like “conspiracy theorists or something nefarious or (that) we don’t trust the system.”

“My personal position, I don’t trust the system,” he added. [Pols emphasis]

These might be the most hilarious paragraphs we’ve read all week. Martinez whines that the news coverage of his blundering voter suppression effort makes it seem like Eagle County GOP officials “don’t trust the system.” Naturally, Martinez follows those complaints up by saying, “I don’t trust the system.” Writers for “Saturday Night Live” would pat themselves on the back if they dreamed this up, but it actually happened.

Former President Donald Trump’s persistent claims in late 2020 about voter fraud likely resulted in depressed voter turnout among Republicans. It is only logical to assume that anyone who took this Eagle County GOP text message seriously is probably predisposed to believing in election conspiracy theories anyway…which means that all Martinez is accomplishing is giving Republican-leaning Unaffiliated voters more reason to avoid casting a ballot altogether. Even State Republican Party Chairperson Kristi Burton Brown isn’t dumb enough to follow Martinez’s lead here; she told The Denver Post that voters should “return their ballot as soon as possible.”

Anyway, you can add this to the very long list of reasons why Colorado Republicans will almost certainly be in for a rough night on November 9 [see what we did there?]


3 thoughts on “Eagle County GOP Fumbles with Voter Suppression Efforts

  1. Undermining and tearing down a program or process that is working just fine, then succeeding and fucking it up, and then screaming to whomever will listen that the program or process needs to be shut down, defunded or repealed because it is a complete disaster is the modus operandi of todays' Republican party.

    Immigration, Social Security, Education, Obamacare, and now voting.

  2. I like the confused quote "What's the end game here?".  Nothing says stupid like Republican tricks coming right after Liz Truss' loss to Hedda Lettuce.

    This should help Dylan Roberts go for the win in SD 8.

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