Some analysts say that the biggest threat to American democracy isn’t the new restrictions to voter access — though they are a problem — but the prospect that election deniers will be elected to offices that actually oversee vote counting and could have the power to alter election results based on conspiracies.
In fact, the New York Times reported last week that “21 candidates who dispute Mr. Biden’s victory are running for secretary of state in 18 states,” citing data from States United Action, a nonpartisan group tracking races for secretary of state throughout the country.
One of those states is Colorado, where David Winney, who’s running in the Republican primary to take on Secretary of State Jena Griswold, is clearly on record as supporting the Big Lie. He’s a member of the “America First” coalition of eight (and counting) Secretary of State candidates, led by Nevada Secretary of State candidate Jim Marchant, who are running on a platform of election fraud conspiracy.
Asked about this conspiracy coalition by the Guardian newspaper, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, who also chairs the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State, listed several reasons such candidates are a threat to American democracy.
“Extreme members of the GOP are taking a sledgehammer to our democratic system,” Griswold told the Guardian in December. “The big lie coalition of candidates running for secretary of state has pushed election conspiracies, authored dangerous voter suppression legislation, or attended the January 6 insurrection.”
Lower-level offices that oversee elections are also being targeted by GOP election deniers.
One election-denying Republican wants to oversee elections in Colorado, in El Paso County, where the largest number of the state’s Republican voters reside and is key to any statewide victory by a Republican in Colorado.
Peter Lupia, the election conspiracist running in the GOP primary in the race to be the clerk and recorder of El Paso County, states on his campaign website that Colorado voting systems are in a state of “dysfunction and disrepair.” Among his solutions is the “cancellation of all Dominion system contracts by the county commission.” Dominion voting machines are used throughout Colorado and their accuracy is not in question.
In a website video, Lupia promises “not to passively follow unconstitutional orders from state officials seeking to corrupt and control the outcomes of local elections, especially when those elections impact state and national representation.”
Winney not only thinks the presidential election was stolen by Biden but also that Colorado’s voting systems are not secure.
At a campaign stop in December, Winny proposed conducting a forensic audit of Colorado’s last election and scrapping the voter rolls and voting machines in Colorado, and replacing them with “secure election processes.” There is no evidence that Colorado’s widely acclaimed voting system is insecure.
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell has indicated he’d endorse Winney as well as Lupia. The pair joined Hanks and his colleague state Rep. Dave Williams (R-Colorado Springs), another Big Lie believer, along with a trio of statehouse candidates at a meeting Hanks described as “strategizing” about party delegates in advance of the El Paso County Republican Party caucus on Feb. 5.
Only a handful of Republican candidates in Colorado have said that Biden was elected legitimately.
Erik Maulbetsch contributed to this report.
CORRECTION: This article initially failed to state that Mike O’Donnell, who’s one of Winny’s GOP primary opponents, questions the security of Dominion voting machines.