CREW and Colorado Common Cause requested records from the Colorado Office of the Secretary of State regarding harassment and threats of violence against election officials and others leading up to the 2020 presidential election, through the 2022 midterm elections, and the present.
Former President Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” that the 2020 presidential election was rife with fraud and was stolen from him not only contributed to election denialism and political violence that culminated in the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, but also had specific dangerous impacts in states across the country including Colorado, and led to lawsuits and complaints.
As National Public Radio noted in an article entitled “Death Threats and Conspiracy Theories: Why 2020 Won’t End for Election Officials,” the “Big Lie” – “The conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was somehow stolen from former President Donald Trump has upended almost all aspects of election administration.” Election officials including Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold have spoken publicly about the many threats to life and safety, with Griswold noting that while she “won’t be intimidated,” these threats make it difficult to recruit new election workers.
These threats have impacted election officials across the state regardless of rank or party affiliation. The threats have become so prevalent that Secretary Griswold requested additional funding for security of election workers and some have considered taking their physical security into their own hands.
The January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol may have been more than two years ago, but the threat to election workers predicated on election fraud conspiracies like the “Big Lie” continue to undermine democracy in Colorado and across the country.
Colorado Common Cause and CREW requested information about threats of violence, actual violence, harassment, intimidation, stalking, or doxxing directed toward the Colorado Secretary of State and her office, local election officials, including County Clerks, County Recorders, their staff, and volunteer election workers.
These records will help to ensure that community leaders in Colorado can better understand and develop proactive strategies to limit and address political violence and election protection issues in Colorado and inform national strategies to facilitate the same.