After Georgia’s Jim Crow 2.0, Dems Beat Back “Big Lie” Inspired Election Bills

DENVER, CO — The House State, Civic, Military, and Veterans Affairs committee today defeated multiple GOP bills based on “the big lie,” which raised baseless conspiracies about the security and integrity of elections across the country, and here in Colorado. 

“Colorado’s elections system is a national model for facilitating record turnout and constantly improving voter access while ensuring safety, integrity and security,” said House State, Civic, Military, and Veterans Affairs Chair Rep. Chris Kennedy, D-Lakewood. “These bills are dangerous attempts to make it harder to vote and undermine faith in our elections based on conspiracies and the ‘big lie,’ which have been repeatedly debunked. In fact, there wasn’t a single piece of evidence presented that anyone voted who wasn’t supposed to or that anything went wrong with our voting systems. Our system has been lauded by both Republican and Democratic secretaries of state, county clerks and recorders, and officials in both parties for nearly a decade.” 

“From Georgia to Colorado, we are seeing an onslaught of GOP efforts across the country to restrict access to the ballot and make it harder for Americans to exercise their right to vote,” said committee vice chair Rep. Steven Woodrow, D-Denver. “We won’t stand for these attacks on our democracy in Colorado. We should be looking for ways to increase participation and make it easier to vote, not casting doubt on the best elections system in America.” 

Dismantle Vote by Mail (HB21-1086 – Luck): This bill would severely limit voter access by requiring voters to submit proof of citizenship in-person at their county clerk and recorder’s office, dismantling our convenient and secure mail-in voting system. Instead of automatically receiving a ballot in the mail, each registered voter would have to go in person to submit additional documents. Voter fraud is extremely rare in the United States, and noncitizen voting is even more rare. This bill is not only a solution in search of a problem, it’s a reckless piece of legislation that would set back our progress and disenfranchise countless Coloradans. Among those directly affected would be military and overseas voters who cannot possibly get to their county clerk’s office in-person. The bill was postponed indefinitely at the request of the sponsor, although two Republicans voted against the motion and to move it forward instead.

Redundant And Unnecessary Audits (HB21-1088 – Pico): This bill would require the state auditor to conduct a completely unnecessary and redundant annual audit of the voter registration system. The Secretary of State’s office and county clerks across the state conduct risk-limiting audits, regarded nationally as the gold standard, in every election and have not found any substantial evidence of fraud.

Giving Political Party Chairs Influence Over Election Equipment Recommendations (HB21-1170 – Geitner): This bill creates an advisory committee made up of partisan appointees from the state’s two major political party chairs to make recommendations on how to change the state’s voting systems, which are the safest and most secure in the country. Colorado already has a bipartisan commission of experts made up of county clerks, election officials, lawmakers, and voting access and integrity advocates that shouldn’t be usurped by a commission made up only of political party appointments. After they spent months trying to undermine the security of our elections, it would be disastrous to allow partisan GOP political operatives a greater say in how we run them.

Commission to Guide Redundant and Unnecessary Audits (HB21-1176 – Holtorf): This bill would create yet another commission to offer recommendations on how to audit Colorado’s elections, despite the fact that the state already has a Bipartisan Election Advisory Commission and already conducts the nationwide gold standard for election audits. By offering bills to fix problems that don’t exist, Republicans continue their efforts to undermine faith in Colorado’s elections.

Endless and Meritless Recount Requests (HB21-1053 – Williams): This bill would allow any registered elector in the political subdivision where the election was held to request an electoral recount when one is not otherwise required. Under this bill, the voter requesting an recount could go so far as to specify that the recount be conducted manually, leaving the door open for all kinds of abuse of the recount mechanism. Under current law, recounts are automatically triggered when the margin falls within 0.5 percent of the vote and can be requested by any candidate or their affiliated party within 28 days of an election.

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