State: Elections working
Williams tells federal panel that Colorado is a model for U.S.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams told the Trump administration in a letter dated Friday that the state’s election system works well and that a blanket request for voter information isn’t an effective way to seek out fraud.
Williams’ nine-page response to President Donald Trump’s election integrity commission includes several recommendations to improve elections and suggests that it look elsewhere in its mission to uncover wrongdoing.
“While this data may serve a purpose,” Williams wrote in his letter to the commission Friday, “a single request for data that lacks the non-public data necessary to accurately match voters across states can’t be used to effectively assess the accuracy of voter rolls.”
Williams, a Republican, urged the voter commission to reach out to the Election Registration and Information Center — a 20-state group that maintains elections, motor vehicle, death, felon and other records and is maintained by member states’ agencies.
Trump established the advisory commission in May with a broad mandate, but the effort has been clouded by partisanship and distrust from the start. That’s in no small part because the order came after Trump alleged without evidence that as many as 5 million people voted illegally in his 2016 election victory against Hillary Clinton.
The commission is tasked with investigating voter fraud, voter suppression and other vulnerabilities in the U.S. election infrastructure.
Williams’ letter was a response to a commission solicitation for voter information from Colorado about two weeks ago. That request also asked Williams a series of questions on elections, including whether he has any evidence of voter fraud or registration fraud in Colorado, or any suggestions for improving cybersecurity. It asked for a response by Friday.
“Elections are working well in Colorado,” Williams wrote. “By every relevant metric, our state ranks as a leader in election administration.”
One of the commission’s questions involved election-related crimes in the state since the November 2000 election. In response, the secretary of state’s office said 18 people have been convicted or charged in that span.
That includes four cases this year: a man who pleaded guilty to forging signatures on a petition to qualify a ballot initiative during the 2016 general election; a woman who voted twice — in 2013 and 2016 — using her dead father’s name; and a woman who forged her dead parents’ names in multiple elections.
Nearly 3,400 Coloradans have canceled their voter registrations in the wake of the Trump administration’s request for voter information, the Secretary of State’s Office confirmed Thursday. Although that figure makes up just 0.09 percent of the state’s 3.7 million registered voters, county officials say they’ve never seen anything quite like it in their careers.
Williams, along with dozens of other secretaries of state across the country, has said he will only provide information considered public under Colorado law, a category that includes voters’ names, addresses, party affiliations, birth years and which elections they have participated in.
The commission’s request is on hold while a legal challenge plays out in court.