Colorado primary election: Unaffiliated voters can prevent extremists from taking office

Colorado’s unaffiliated voters will wield a tremendous amount of power this primary election and should use their collective electoral sway to protect democracy, repudiate conspiracies and foster a healthy two-party system in this state.

Ballots are arriving in mailboxes, and we urge unaffiliated voters who have a choice between casting a ballot in the Republican primary or in the Democratic primary to select the party where their voice will be the loudest in denouncing radicalism.

America is dangerously divided.

Candidates who intentionally and needlessly fuel that division should have no place in public office.

We can come together to promote a country where there are stark differences on crucial policy issues – abortion rights, gun rights, social programs, tax rates (breaks and loopholes),  energy development, land and nature conservation – but where we still harbor a fundamental understanding that we are all in this together, peacefully, as a free country ruled by the people, for the people.

There are candidates running for public office in Colorado – local, state, and federal – that are not promoting that worldview.

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert was fully on board with former President Donald Trump’s disastrous attempts to remain in office despite losing both the popular and the Electoral College vote in 2020. On Jan. 6, she tweeted out, “Today is 1776” before voting not to certify the electors from Arizona and Pennsylvania. It was part of the president’s scheme to have Congress and Vice President Mike Pence reject Electoral College votes from several states that President Joe Biden had won so that Trump would then have the most Electoral College points.

It was not only a blatantly unconstitutional scheme, it was an assault on our country.

The vote was interrupted by Trump supporters who violently stormed the U.S. Capitol after hearing lies from Trump and others that the election was stolen via a vast conspiracy to defraud the American people. Notably, a number of Republican Senators abandoned their plans to keep Trump in office after the attack, but not Rep. Boebert.

Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said rejecting the results without evidence of fraud would send U.S. democracy into a “death spiral.”

Boebert didn’t care and still doesn’t care, saying in a debate just this month that she was “proud that the first major action that I took in the House of Representatives was to vote to not certify some of the Electoral College results from the 2020 elections.”

Consider Colorado state representatives Dave Williams who is running for Congress in the 5th Congressional District and Ron Hanks, who is running for U.S. Senate. Williams brought an amendment on the floor of the Colorado House this session thanking his colleague Hanks and “the millions of other Americans who joined him on Jan. 6, 2021, … to speak, peacefully assemble, and seek redress from their government in order to secure our elections and protect the sacred right of every lawful vote to be counted.”

Williams and Hanks have repeatedly said the election was stolen from Trump in 2020 through some unspecified combination of individual voter fraud (i.e., folks casting ballots for dead spouses, etc.) and a vast conspiracy perpetrated by the election hardware and software company used by Colorado and a number of other states.

Williams later doubled down on his election fraud beliefs in a January interview with Peter Boyles on talk radio, saying the 2020 election was absolutely stolen and Trump should be president.

Hanks said in his speech at the GOP state assembly in April: “I fully expected Donald Trump to win in 2020 – and he did … What we saw on election night in 2020, it changed everything, just like the changes we felt after 9/11.”

Meanwhile, a candidate for secretary of state, Tina Peters, has been indicted on charges that she stole election data from the Mesa County Clerk’s office in an effort to prove election fraud. Spoiler alert, she found no evidence of fraud.

We disagree with those who are using their resources to prop up these candidates in a cynical ploy to get extremist candidates through the primary to face Democrats in the fall. We remember those who laughed at Donald Trump’s performance in the 2016 Republican primary and secretly hoped he would win the nomination to give Democrats an easy path to the White House. Trump’s nomination did not end well for America. This risk is real.

Primary ballots are unique to where voters live, and only voters can judge which primary most needs their vote. But we hope voters will consider lending their voice to repudiate these candidates with one voice, together as Coloradans who want a stable democratic republic to persist.

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Updated June 10, 2022 at 2:50 p.m. Due to an editor’s error, this story contained inaccurate information about voter registration. Under Colorado law, the last day for a registered voter to chage party affiliation was June 6.

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