Updated 6:57 a.m.
The head of Colorado’s Republican Party is trying to reassure members of the GOP that there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the state.
Rep. Ken Buck said it’s critically important to provide facts and evidence to combat misinformation and conspiracy theories. “There’s really very few things we do in this country that are as important as not only conducting honest elections but also convincing the public that the elections were honest,” Buck told CPR News.
Three Republican election officials joined Buck for an hour-long election security discussion to answer questions Wednesday night and address concerns from members of the GOP. Close to 700 Republicans tuned in.
The event came after weeks of attacks on the American election system by President Donald Trump. Earlier Wednesday, Trump issued a 46-minute video statement repeating many debunked claims about the presidential election and describing the system as “under coordinated assault and siege.” So far the president’s legal efforts to overturn the election have been soundly rejected by the courts.
Buck declined to weigh in on Trump's unfounded criticism of the election outcomes in several states he’s tried to contest.
“I'm comfortable discussing Colorado. I have no idea what they do in Detroit. I have no idea what they do in Philadelphia. I have no idea what they do in Atlanta. And so I can't talk about those,” Buck said. “I can't talk about the integrity of the elections and other states.”
He said he won’t refer to Democrat Joe Biden as the President-elect until the election is officially certified, which will likely occur on Dec. 8.
Attorney General William Barr determined earlier this week there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election. Buck would not say whether he agrees with Barr's assessment, but said about it, “if that gives Colorado voters comfort, that's great.”
Colorado’s Congressional Republicans have generally stayed quiet about the president’s fraud claims, with the notable exception of GOP Congresswoman-elect Lauren Boebert, who has repeated many of them on Twitter.
“It is not enough to talk about voter fraud. Something needs to be done concretely to ensure that this cannot go on," she tweeted on Nov. 24. “Georgia is right now getting ready to determine control of the Senate — has the system been fixed or are they going to just allow that to be stolen too?”
Top Republican election officials in Georgia have begged Trump and other Republicans to tone down their attacks on the state’s election system, saying they fear the heated rhetoric could lead to violence.
Officials defend Dominion Voting Systems
Three Republican Clerk and Recorders — Chuck Broerman of El Paso county, Carly Koppes of Weld county, and Tressa Guynes of Montrose county — walked the audience through pre-submitted questions about how counties determine citizenship status for voting, process and tabulate ballots, conduct audits, verify results, clean voter rolls, and mail ballots.
They also addressed some of the President’s false claims that Colorado-based Dominion Voting Systems deleted nearly 3 million Trump votes nationwide, although the clerks only talked about results in Colorado, not other states.
“We had zero discrepancies with both our audited and unaudited races here in Weld County for the 2020 General Election and the March primary election, and the June election,” said Koppes.
Colorado’s audit process double-checks scanning machines’ tallies against the actual votes on the original paper ballots.
Koppes added that it’s not even technically possible for Dominion software to switch votes because the software does not designate which candidate is assigned a particular oval on the paper ballot.
“If the system doesn't know what candidate is assigned to that oval, there's no possible way for it to be flipping or changing or manipulating the tally of what candidate gets, what votes,” Koppes said. “It’s not able to do that because it's not that intelligent.”
Broerman noted 62 of the state’s 64 counties use Dominion software and assured Republicans that it was chosen after a thorough vetting process that began under Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler and was completed by his successor Republican Wayne Williams. Part of the goal of using Dominion software was to standardize how all parts of the state conduct their elections.
“Throughout the state of Colorado, we had, like, 11 different platforms, different vendors, different software. It was a regular Heinz 57 variety of election systems,” said Broerman, who added that Dominion has been working well for Colorado.
“We are considered the gold standard. Everybody wants to be like Colorado. And that goes from the execution of our elections to the products and the vendors that we use in that process.”
Buck acknowledged that the discussion may not quell the belief among many Republican voters that the election was not fairly conducted.
“There are a number of people who are willing to base their concerns on less than complete evidence,” he said.
If the state party continues to hear a lot of questions they’ll host another call, Buck said. He also encouraged Republicans to get information from their local county clerks. He noted that people who don’t trust that the election system is fair and accurate are less likely to vote.
“The last thing that I think we want as a country is to have people who are turned off by our form of government, because then they don't obey the laws. They don't respect the officials who have been elected and the integrity of the decisions from those officials.”