DENVER – The spokeswoman for Colorado’s Republican secretary of state offered a strong rebuttal to Donald Trump’s claims that there is voter fraud occurring in what Trump has called a “rigged” election.
“Donald Trump has been tweeting about elections being rigged, but he offers no evidence of such,” Secretary of State Communications Director Lynn Bartels said in a statement to Denver7. “I can say on Twitter I’m a super model, but that doesn’t make it so.”
On Sunday, Trump tweeted that the election “is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media…but also at many polling places.”
The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary - but also at many polling places - SAD
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2016
He repeated the claim at rallies Sunday afternoon and took to Twitter again Monday morning to claim voter fraud was happening nationwide.
“Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day,” he tweeted.
Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day. Why do Republican leaders deny what is going on? So naive!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2016
Trump has been dropping hints at a “rigged election” since the beginning of August, but has never shown any proof of such “rigging” happening.
His own running mate, Gov. Mike Pence, sought to downplay Trump’s comments Sunday morning on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” when he said Trump “will absolutely accept the result of the election.”
But Trump has spent the past 24 hours since claiming anything but that will happen.
“While there are occasional instances of voter fraud, Colorado’s processes are very good at catching attempts to commit voter fraud,” Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican, said in a statement to Denver7. “We are working to improve our processes and prosecute those who break the law.”
Bartels noted that Colorado is a mail-ballot state, which she says further discredits Trump’s claims are being “rigged” at polling places. She said that in 2014, only 5 percent of votes came from polling centers – the rest were mailed in.
“The county clerks have extensive checks and balances in place in scanning the mail ballots,” Bartels said.
She also noted that former Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler ran for governor in 2014 but took third in the Republican primary.
“If you really can rig the system, how come he came in third?” Bartels queried.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams is a Republican. His office is also not the first Republican secretary of state’s office to denounce Trump’s claims.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon A. Husted told the New York Times Sunday it was “wrong and engaging in irresponsible rhetoric” for Trump to question the integrity of elections. Former Kentucky Secretary of State, Trey Grayson, who is also a Republican, called Trump’s comments “irresponsible.”
Trump lashed back at those Republicans Monday, calling Republican party leaders “naïve” as he continued to claim the election was “rigged.”
To further hammer home the lengths to which the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office has gone to ensure a fair election, Bartels said her office is working with the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the Governor’s Office of Information Technology and county IT staffs.
She said none of Colorado’s voting systems are connected to the internet, and though the voting registration system is, extensive testing is done “to ensure it is secure.”
“When we are alerted about possible hacking attempts, we block those IP addresses,” Bartels said. She added that all staffers go through training on proper computer usage and that IT conducts phishing tests on emails coming to employees.
Presidential elections are administered through the states, not the federal government. Colorado is one of 24 states that have an elected secretary of state – in this case Williams – who is the state’s chief election official.
In some states, the election official is another person who is appointed by the governor, Legislature or state board of elections.
On a local level, county clerks are either elected or appointed. Clerks in Arapahoe, Adams, Mesa, El Paso, Douglas, Larimer, La Plata and Jefferson counties are all Republicans. Boulder, Denver and Pueblo counties are among those with Democratic clerks.
The Colorado County Clerks Association also sent an open letter to voters Monday, saying it “is appropriate to remind voters that our system is the best in the world and will achieve meaningful and credible outcomes.”
More information on the election at the federal, state and local levels can be found here.