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Another attempt by Colorado Republicans to call for an audit of Colorado’s election systems was defeated Tuesday evening after Republican motions failed on party line votes.
GOP lawmakers called for the bipartisan Legislative Audit Committee meeting on election integrity, citing concerns about Dominion Voting Systems and about Colorado’s election process, though there has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud.
The allegations have mirrored national rhetoric by President Donald Trump’s campaign, and his legal adviser Jenna Ellis, a Colorado native, testified remotely to the committee Tuesday morning, calling for such an audit. She did not provide proof of fraud in Colorado, though she attempted to cast doubt about Jefferson County’s election.
“If our legal systems and our election laws in Colorado and throughout the country are not followed and they’re open for fraud, irregularity or all manner of hijacking, then we we never have a free and fair election in the state of Colorado or in any other state in the union,” Ellis said.
County clerks and former secretaries of state also spoke about Colorado’s processes, its risk-limiting audits and the security of a system recognized as the “gold standard.” Although some proposed changes to procedures, they repeatedly lauded the system overall.
Former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican, told committee members that Coloradans can be confident that their elections are free and fair, and instances of fraud that may have been successful are in the dozens, not hundreds of thousands.
The motions by Republicans — one to launch an audit of the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office and another to direct the state auditor to research a potential performance audit — failed on tie votes of 4-4.
Sen. Paul Lundeen, a Monument Republican, told The Denver Post that while the meeting didn’t uncover massive voter fraud, every person’s vote should be protected. He added that he hopes the legislature can address some of the dozen or more recommendations from clerks for improvements related to ballot security and registration.
“This is the protection of our republic, the protection of every person, every Coloradan’s confidence that every vote is meaningful and counted, and as close to perfect as we can get it,” he said.
But Democrats called the meeting an abuse of the committee’s purpose, and Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp, D-Arvada, said the evidence doesn’t support a fishing expedition into the Secretary of State’s Office.
“I think legislators lifting up conspiracy theorists for political gain hurts all of us,” added Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City.