The consequences of the “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Trump, didn’t end with the storming of our nation’s Capitol on January 6. Even small counties in southern Colorado are threatened by those who believe the lie, and those who perpetuate it.
Fremont County Clerk Justin Grantham first called out state Rep. Ron Hanks (R-Canon City) in a Facebook comment when Hanks, after admitting to crossing DC Capitol police lines during the insurrection, falsely claimed on air that he had discussed election integrity with his county clerks.
At the time, Grantham told the Colorado Times Recorder that he had nearly completed a letter to Hanks, inviting him to tour the Fremont County Clerk’s office and learn about the election process in person.
Grantham released that letter today. As promised he invited Hanks for a tour but he also excoriated the legislator, who has for months been publicly questioning the validity of the 2020 election both nationally and in Colorado, for his failure to connect with any of the clerks who actually administered the elections in his own district.
Grantham also revealed serious threats, including threats of violence, occurring within Hanks’ district, linked to election conspiracy misinformation.
“The misinformation being spread has led to multiple threats on Clerks including myself. Serious threats have happened in your own district due to the misinformation,” states Grantham’s letter. “This has forced a remodel of the Chaffee County Clerk’s Office to protect her and her staff from threats of violence.”
Grantham, a Republican also noted that he participated in a meeting of the Republican Study Committee of Colorado (RSCC). The RSCC is an ultra-conservative group of current and ex-legislators, helmed by former state Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud), who, like Hanks, is an election fraud conspiracist.
The group hosted multiple meetings promoting the election-fraud conspiracy, including one on April 24 attended by Reps. Hanks, Stephanie Luck (R-Penrose), Kim Ransom (R-Colordo Springs), and Mark Baisley (R-Roxborough Park), at which former CU visiting lecturer John Eastman and traveling election conspiracist Dr. Douglas Frank made repeated unfounded allegations that voting with electronic machines and/or mail ballots leads to fraud.
According to Grantham, the RSCC meeting he attended in May wasn’t the collaborative effort to discuss election security he expected, but rather an “an all-out attack on Republican clerks about the 2020 election,” that, he said, “ended on a horrible note.”
Read the entirety of Clerk Grantham’s letter here:
Representative Ron Hanks,
Over the past 9 months, I have followed your progress before the legislative session, through the session and after session was over. I have been specifically following your concern over election integrity. I remember when I invited both you and Representative Luck to come to my office for a tour and ask questions about the elections. Especially with the rising concerns that the November election was rigged across our state and country. I also provided you my phone number and contact information to use for future communications and to ask questions on bills that deal with my statutory duties as Clerk. This was in good faith hoping that you would accept my invitation as a lot of disinformation was circulating before and after the election and to have open communications between fellow elected officials.
My invitation to you to tour my office behind the scenes never happened. Whether you were busy before you took office, didn’t have time in February (when the legislature wasn’t convened), or haven’t had time the last 2 months is very disheartening. If election integrity as important to you as you have been fighting it would have been a priority. I am truly surprised you never made the time to have a conversation with the chief election official of the county that you reside in and represent. The misinformation being spread has led to multiple threats on Clerks including myself. Serious threats have happened in your own district due to the misinformation. This has forced a remodel of the Chaffee County Clerk’s Office to protect her and her staff from threats of violence.
I do applaud and thank you for your work in the 2021 session. There were a lot of things happening and for a freshman legislator you hung in there and that is great. Your heart is in the right place and in the current split of the Colorado House you did a great job holding your own. That being said, I did expect you to reach out eventually. With almost 1,000 bills initially proposed or introduced, approximately 1/10th of the bills had to do with some aspect of my office or county government. I never expected you to reach out on every bill, but with so many bills this year I would have expected you to at least reach out about one. Instead, because of the importance of some bills, I reached out to you and advocate just like a lobbyist. To your credit, when I did reach out a few times, you answered immediately and I appreciated that.
During session, I traveled to Denver to participate in a (RSCC) Republican Study Committee of Colorado meeting in regards to the election. From my understanding, participation in this group helps determine future bills for Republicans. The meeting however, was nothing like I expected it to be. This meeting was not about collaboration, but instead it was all out attack on Republican Clerks about the 2020 election. The Clerks that attended, were defending against mathematical and statistical probabilities, “possible” computer system vulnerabilities, election processes, rules, laws, and threats of violence on more than one occasion. When the invite came, I was under the pretext that it was supposed to be a discussion and an educational meeting to explain how we conducted the election, so I went in good faith and was hoping to work together, but as the “conversation” continued, it was more evident that the committee was trying to find someone to blame for President Trump’s loss in the November election. Though the meeting ended on a horrible note, I still thanked everyone who attended and was looking forward to coordinating with the committee in the future. There have yet to be anymore communications between the RSCC or the CCCA, but I hope that will change as the next session draws nigh.
Which brings me to the radio show on July 14 , 2021. I watched the entire live stream and am very concerned with you saying you have spoken to all the County Clerks in your district, except Chaffee. I replayed it to make sure. You have not had any election discussion with myself, Debra Green in Park, or Kelley Camper in Custer! You have been a huge advocate of election integrity and transparency and I thank you for that, however you have never expressed an interest or a concern about elections to myself or other professionals conducting elections at the county level. If you had questions or didn’t understand we would have answered them.
Lastly as the elected official, designated election official and chief election official of Fremont County, I encourage you to come into my office or other clerks’ offices as other constituents have done in your district and talk to the professionals about elections. We are the trusted source of information because we are the boots on the ground conducting these elections. There are those out there that are spreading misinformation, half-truths, and lies which is unfortunate. My contact information is below. If you have any questions, concerns, issues, and/or want a tour please reach out to me anytime.
I also encourage you to seek out Rick Castor (Fremont County Republican Chair) and have him complete a letter adding you to the list of party election judges. This way you can participate in the upcoming 2021 election, in either the LAT (logic and accuracy test) or RLA (risk limiting audit), as an election judge working in the polls to deconstructing ballots and envelopes to verifying signatures, as an observer, or as a watcher. This way you can witness first-hand how an election is conducted.
Thank you for your time.
Justin D Grantham Fremont County Clerk and Recorder
Park County Clerk & Recorder, Debra Green, Custer County Clerk & Recorder, Kelley Camper, Chaffee County Clerk & Recorder, Lori Mitchell, Fremont County Republican Chairman, Rick Castor, Colorado County Clerk’s Association Director, Matt Crane, and Colorado Department of State’s Elections Director, Judd Choate