Democrat Griswold reelected as Colorado secretary of state
DENVER (AP) — Colorado’s Democratic secretary of state Jena Griswold has won a second term, defeating Republican Pam Anderson, a former county clerk, to remain the state’s top elections official.
Griswold, who Anderson accused of being too partisan for someone who administers elections, is a vocal advocate for voting access and a frequent guest on cable news shows. She has defended her outspoken positions on issues including voting and abortion as a way of standing up for fundamental rights.
While Griswold said Colorado’s election system is a national model, she said after winning Tuesday that the state should continue to innovate and increase access and security.
“Now, we must continue to stand together, not as Republicans and Democrats, but as Coloradans and Americans, to reject extremism and ensure our government is working for every person,” she said in a statement.
Anderson, the former head of the state’s clerks association, stood apart from some Republicans seeking top elections offices in other states who baselessly claimed the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent. But despite largely agreeing with Griswold on how elections should be conducted, Anderson accused her opponent of potentially alienating voters at a time when how U.S. elections are conducted are subject to skepticism. Anderson also suggested Griswold’s focus on politics distracted her from overseeing the office. In 2019, after Alabama passed a restrictive abortion law, Griswold said she would not pay to send employees for training at a national election center there and called on others to boycott the state.
Last year, Griswold worked to block Tina Peters, the Mesa County clerk charged with allegedly allowing outsiders to break into her election system, from overseeing elections there. She also went to court to get another clerk, Dallas Schroeder, in Elbert County, to turn over copies of election system hard drives.
Anderson defeated Peters in the Republican primary to challenge Griswold. She supported Griswold’s response to Peters but faulted Griswold for using the case in fundraising pitches to her supporters while it was still being investigated.
Griswold criticized Anderson, a nonpartisan municipal clerk in the Denver suburb of Wheat Ridge before being elected Jefferson County clerk, for not denouncing fellow Republicans on the Colorado ballot who have cast doubt on the 2020 presidential election results.
Anderson insisted she has and would continue to speak out against any candidate who spreads election misinformation. She dismissed Griswold’s call as too political.
As secretary, Griswold backed legislation to make tampering with election equipment a felony and to increase the number of ballot drop-off boxes and in-person voting centers. She also implemented a program where voters can track their ballots, getting notifications of their status by phone, email or text.
This fall, Griswold’s office mistakenly sent postcards to about 30,000 noncitizens encouraging them to register to vote, blaming the error on a database glitch related to the state’s list of residents with driver’s licenses. Colorado is one of over a dozen states in which noncitizens are able to get driver’s licenses. The notices did say people must be U.S. citizens to register to vote.
Anderson was recently featured on the front of Time magazine in a story about elections officials working to protect democracy. As county clerk, she helped pass legislation that required clerks to perform audits of election results.
In her concession speech, Anderson told supporters that she believes her campaign sent a “strong message” that elections should be overseen in a non-partisan way to build voters’ confidence in the system.