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Election Denial in Colorado

  • 0 Election Deniers currently hold statewide office with election oversight power.

  • 4 Election Deniers have held, or run for, statewide office since 2020.

The landscape in Colorado

Colorado has no Election Deniers in statewide election oversight positions, and a new law last year made it a crime to threaten an election worker. But Election Denier behavior has still menaced the state in several troubling ways.

Two members of Congress from Colorado — Reps. Lauren Boebert and Doug Lamborn — were among the 147 who voted to overturn 2020 election results on Jan. 6 and 7, 2021.

Election officials have been swamped by records requests in a vain hunt for evidence of election fraud. Matt Crane, Executive Director of the Colorado County Clerks Association, told CNN: “It’s trying to create chaos and cause confusion and ultimately force people into making mistakes.”

Tina Peters, a former county clerk who promoted baseless claims of fraud, faces trial in 2024 on charges that she tampered with election equipment. She was one of three Election Deniers who were rejected by Colorado Republicans in the 2022 primary. But Colorado is an example of how Election Deniers don’t go away just because voters tell them to. The state Republican Party chose an Election Denier as its leader in March 2023.

As Election Deniers have tightened their grip on a faction of the Republican Party, other Republicans have warned about the lasting damage to our democracy. One of them is Rep. Ken Buck, who condemned some leaders of his party for “lying to America” as he decided not to seek re-election in 2024. Citing conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 attack, he said: “These insidious narratives breed widespread cynicism and erode Americans' confidence in the rule of law.”

0 Election Deniers hold statewide Office right now.

Elections are run by the states. In Colorado, the Governor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State are the state officials responsible for overseeing elections. It’s up to them to make sure the will of the people is always respected.

Read more about The Roles of Our Elected Officials in Elections

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Election Deniers

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How Colorado compares

Every state runs its own elections, with its own laws and processes. Check out how Colorado compares with other states in its region when it comes to Election Deniers holding state election administration jobs.

Election Denial in Rocky Mountain States

Sitting official is an Election Denier

  1. In Utah, the chief election official is the Lieutenant Governor, elected alongside the Governor.

Voter turnout over time

Voters are always the backstop against election denial, whether Election Deniers are already in office or vying for power. It’s important to turn out for every election in your state—and to vote in every race on your ballot. Downballot races, like contests for Attorney General and Secretary of State, have historically drawn fewer voters, even though the positions are critical to keeping elections free, fair, and secure. Here’s a look at voter participation in Colorado elections over time. Notice that in years with several important positions up for election, some voters choose not to vote in every race.

Voter Participation in Colorado Since 2016

Attorney General
Secretary of State
  1. 2016 Presidential

    • President had a 73% voter turnout rate

    • Senator had a 72% voter turnout rate

  2. 2018 Midterm

    • Governor had a 64% voter turnout rate

    • Attorney General had a 63% voter turnout rate

    • Secretary of State had a 63% voter turnout rate

  3. 2020 Presidential

    • President had a 78% voter turnout rate

    • Senator had a 78% voter turnout rate

Voter turnout

Data on the number of votes cast in each race are from state elections depositories, supplemented with data from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), House Election Statistics, and The Book of States. Rates are calculated using the Census’s Citizen Voting Age Population (CVAP) estimates. Rates will be updated when the Census releases new CVAP data for 2022.

Beyond the ballot box

Each year, state legislators introduce thousands of bills related to elections. And in the past few years, we’ve identified a concerning trend. Across the country, state legislatures are considering bills that would make it easier for partisan actors to manipulate an election, and maybe even overturn the will of the people. We’re tracking these bills along with our partners in an ongoing series of reports called “A Democracy Crisis in the Making.” In 2023 alone, through early May, we tracked 185 bills introduced in 38 state legislatures that would politicize, criminalize, or interfere with elections. 

The anti-democracy playbook is simple: change the rules and change the referees, in order to change the results. These bills go hand-in-hand with the Election Denier movement: They’re about taking power away from voters and making it harder for trusted election officials to do their jobs.

Read the full report

Legislative Interference in Colorado by Category

As of May 3, 2023, no bills had been introduced or were under consideration in Colorado. None have been enacted or adopted and none have been vetoed after passing.

  • Usurping control over election results.
    These bills would give legislators or other state officials direct control over election outcomes.
  • Requiring partisan or unprofessional election “audits” or reviews.
    These bills would establish vague post-election review schemes without the professional standards of traditional audits.
  • Seizing power over election responsibilities.
    These bills would shift election administration responsibilities away from professional, nonpartisan officials and toward partisan actors in the legislature.
  • Creating unworkable burdens in election administration.
    These bills would interfere with the basic procedures of election administration, increasing the risk of chaos and delay and enabling misleading claims of irregularity.
  • Imposing disproportionate criminal or other penalties.
    These bills would create or expand penalties for election officials in the ordinary execution of their jobs, including criminalizing inadvertent mistakes.