Colorado reports smooth Election Day, but GOP candidate stokes fears
Colorado's top election official reported no Election Day problems so far, despite concerns about potential efforts to disrupt the vote.
Driving the news: No major threats against the election or poll workers have materialized so far, according to state and local election officials who spoke at a briefing Tuesday afternoon. Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, who is traveling with increased security because of threats aimed at her, said Tuesday that "everything is running really smoothly today."
The intrigue: On the eve of the election, Republican candidate for governor Heidi Ganahl again outwardly questioned the integrity of elections and sent Colorado county clerks a letter asking for them to allow members of the public to hand-count ballots for free, rather than require a request and fee to review them.
- She also appeared on two podcasts affiliated with election deniers in the final days of the campaign, including one hosted by Joe Oltmann, who has suggested Democratic Gov. Jared Polis should be hanged.
- Ganahl promised in one interview to form an election integrity commission "right off the bat" if elected, the Colorado Sun reports.
Flashback: Her latest appearance with Oltmann marked a shift. Earlier, her campaign canceled an appearance at an event because Oltmann was scheduled to speak.
Why it matters: Ganahl's remarks alarmed election officials about potential violence at the polls from people fueled by misinformation. Earlier this year, the FBI named Colorado one of the top eight states for threats against election workers, and officials are concerned about national and local efforts to impede voting.
- Ganahl said in a previous debate that she'd accept the election results if she loses, but now that answer appears in flux.
Zoom in: Tension remains high. Election deniers have infiltrated the ranks of poll watchers across Colorado, as we reported earlier, and officials say misinformation continues to proliferate.
- At the election briefing with Griswold, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock noted that the crowd gathered outside a mobile poll site downtown included more security officers than members of the media. The election threats are "a shame on America's democracy," the mayor said.
Of note: Griswold told Axios Denver a small number of poll watchers were dismissed by county clerks in recent days because of disturbances at the polls, but clarified that happens "every election" and it's "not out of the ordinary."
- "The clerks aren't waiting around to see what people's motives are. If they aren't following the rules, they are being let go," said Michele Ames, a spokesperson for the Colorado County Clerks Association.
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