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April 22, 2024 11:55 AM UTC

Sorry John Eastman, We Don't Do Fake Electors In Colorado

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  • by: Colorado Pols
Real and fake Electoral College elector slates from Arizona in 2020.

A press release this morning from Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold this morning celebrates the signing by Gov. Jared Polis of one of Griswold’s key legislative priorities this session, a bill outlawing false slates of presidential electors, like those proposed by election-denying Republicans under the scheme hatched by University of Colorado conservative scholar John Eastman attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election:

Secretary of State Jena Griswold’s priority legislation, False Slates of Electors (HB24-1150) has been signed into law. This is the first enacted bill in the nation to expressly criminalize efforts to use fake electors schemes to overturn a state’s electoral results.

“Trying to steal an election through fake electors schemes is now a crime in the State of Colorado,” said Secretary Griswold. “I am proud that we are the first state in the country to expressly criminalize these efforts. Thank you to Governor Polis, Representatives Garcia and Parenti, and Senator Hinrichsen for making a clear statement that stealing an election is unacceptable in Colorado.”

The bill was sponsored by Representatives Lorena Garcia and Jennifer Parenti and Senator Nick Hinrichsen.

Fake electors schemes were central to the attempt by Donald Trump and his allies to steal the presidency in the 2020 General Election. Seven states have conducted criminal investigations of the individuals who participated in this scheme. Not every state was able to prosecute fake electors and those they conspired with because there was not a clear criminal law on the books.

HB24-1150 prohibits:

  • Participating in a coordinated effort to subvert Colorado’s legitimate election results by replacing the electoral college voters with imposter electors who would cast a vote for a candidate who did not actually receive the highest votes;
  • Conspiring or agreeing to participate in a plan to create an alternative slate of presidential electors;
  • An individual from knowingly and falsely swearing the oath for presidential electors, or persuading someone else to;
  • Creating, signing, or filing a list of false presidential electors with specified state or federal entities.

This legislation holds bad actors accountable by:

  • Clearly establishing the crimes surrounding ‘fake elector’ schemes in election statute.
  • Providing a penalty framework for such crimes, including up to a $10,000 civil fine.
  • If convicted, bars participants from running for or holding public office in the State of Colorado.

Although this legislation would seem like a no-brainer to any responsible public servant who doesn’t think people should just be able to conjure up fake “official” documents to inject into a process as important as a presidential election, the bill passed on mostly party-line votes with most Republicans wanting to leave this nonsensical “option” available–or at least unwilling to further humiliated the disbarred former Colorado GOP attorney Eastman by voting to criminalize a plot Eastman is principally responsible for allegedly concocting.

As surely as you won’t get far down the road with those fake Montana militia license plates, the only people filing official election paperwork from the state of Colorado had better be, well, official from now on.

If every state doesn’t follow, Republicans in those states need to explain why not.

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