Colorado’s electoral system is built around the premise that voters can trust the Secretary of State to be above politics, and for good reason. The Secretary of State’s office is charged with regulating everything from elections, to campaign finance, to lobbyists in Colorado.
As public discussion around election integrity over the last two years has demonstrated, it is absolutely vital that Coloradans can turn to a trusted voice in the Secretary of State’s office with confidence that the individual occupying that seat is not simply using the office as a platform to advance a partisan agenda.
Unfortunately, that is not where Colorado finds itself with Secretary of State Jena Griswold.
Since taking office, Griswold has burnished her reputation for advancing partisan causes both to promote political allies and her own political ambitions. It would be troubling enough if she was just using her office to proactively support her party, but Griswold has also exhibited willingness to use her perch as Secretary of State to target political opponents.
At Compass Colorado we believe it is important for the public to have a full understanding of Griswold’s disturbing pattern of behavior, which is why we are pleased to announce a new digital campaign exposing Griswold’s history of partisanship. The campaign features social ads and a new website, PartisanGriswold.com, where Coloradans can find a running timeline of Griswold’s troubling history of partisan activism.
Griswold’s partisanship has been an ongoing theme since she assumed office in 2019, and there are too many examples to completely enumerate here. Although, several troubling instances stand out.
Merely a few months after taking office Griswold announced the Colorado Secretary of State’s office would boycott the state of Alabama due to an abortion bill the state signed into law.
If you’re like most people, it’s reasonable to question what interest Colorado’s top elections official has in weighing in on abortion laws at all, much less in an entirely different state.
Documents from the Secretary of State’s office subsequently revealed Griswold allowed Planned Parenthood to edit a press release announcing the boycott and provide feedback on what their group considered to be effective talking points. Irrespective of one’s view on abortion rights, what’s undenbiable is Planned Parenthood is a partisan group that works to elect Democrats. The idea Griswold would abuse her office by effectively consulting a group her office is charged with regulating should disturb every Coloradan, regardless of where you fall on the ideological spectrum.
What’s even more suspect was the timing of this incident. Griswold launched an exploratory committee for Senate just a few months later, making it painfully obvious she sees her position as Secretary of State as nothing more than a political stepping stone.
If it wasn’t clear then, Griswold’s self-serving use of her office became more apparent shortly thereafter. The Secretary of State moderated a series of forums with Democrat presidential candidates in advance of Colorado’s 2020 presidential primary, an unprecedented move in recent history.
Griswold billed these appearances as opportunities to promote Colorado’s election system. In reality, that was simply a thinly veiled excuse to promote her own political brand to her party’s base. The image she intended to project as a loyal partisan committed to electing a Democrat for President in 2020 was unmistakable.
Following Biden’s nomination Griswold turned her partisan sights on then-President Trump. However, her attacks on the former President were not strictly tied to voting or Colorado’s election laws. In August of 2020 Griswold blamed President Trump for failing to “control the pandemic” and quite literally argued the President was responsible for the hundreds of thousands of COVID deaths in America.
Not only did a partisan attack like that jeopardize trust in her office, it also did not age very well.
Since President Biden’s election COVID deaths have surpassed those that occurred under former President Trump. President Biden himself recently acknowledged “there is no federal solution” to the pandemic. Despite Biden embracing Trump’s “pandemic federalism,” Griswold hasn’t bothered to criticize Biden for failing to “suppress the virus.”
Following President Biden taking office Griswold also threw her support behind a series of voting bills in Congress that would have effectively federalized elections. Both of these now-failed bills would have invalidated the very signature verification laws Colorado uses to ensure the integrity of our state’s mail ballot system.
Earlier this year President Biden went so far as to argue the very legitimacy of the upcoming midterm elections would be called into question if these reforms did not pass Congress. That “liberal form of election denialism” went completely unchallenged by Griswold, who instead argued electing more Democrats like her is the only way to protect election integrity.
“The idea that elections might be unreliable unless Democrats get their way — or unless Democrats get elected secretary of state — is a strain of the same poison being peddled by people who say Biden didn’t win,” the Washington Post wrote.
Unfortunately given Griswold’s history there is little reason to believe she has any intention abandoning her partisan behavior or restoring trust in her office. However, Griswold can rest assured that Compass Colorado and grassroots activists across the great state of Colorado will continue to hold her accountable.