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Colorado GOP argues change to election committee meeting rule would impede transparency

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Derek Draplin | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – Colorado’s Republican Party is decrying a proposed rule change to election-related meetings by Secretary of State Jena Griswold's office.

The secretary of state’s election division last month filed an amendment to a state election rule governing how the state’s Bipartisan Election Advisory Committee meets.

Currently, the committee, which is tasked with making recommendations to the SOS office regarding election matters, “must meet no fewer than three times annually,” according to the Rule 23.1.3.

Under the proposed rule change, the secretary of state would “set the time and location for the commission to meet.” 

The Colorado Republican Party took issue with the proposed rule change in a statement Monday.

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“At a time when we need to be building up transparency and trust in our elections, Jena Griswold is changing rules to limit bipartisan input,” Colorado GOP Chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown said in a statement. “She has now unilaterally decided that the Bipartisan Election [Advisory] Committee will meet only if she says so.”

“All Coloradans, regardless of their political party, need to have faith in our electoral system,” Burton Brown added. “By limiting bipartisan feedback on our elections, Jena Griswold has undermined that trust and contributed to increasing partisanship in Colorado.”

The secretary of state’s office told The Center Square in an emailed statement that the proposed rule change would “give our office more flexibility to schedule these meetings with a diverse set of stakeholders and we welcome any and all public feedback to our proposed rule changes.”

“Additionally, we meet with Republican and Democratic party lawyers and officials frequently to ensure we are hearing feedback and providing information often,” the office added. 

The proposed rule change was part of a slew of other rule changes included in a notice of rulemaking the office announced on June 30. The amendments are scheduled for a public hearing August 3.

Griswold’s office last month issued emergency rules barring third party groups from having access to voting equipment in an attempt to prevent “sham audits,” citing election audits in Arizona and other states.

Burton Brown said in a statement at the time that Griswold’s “partisan decisions consistently undermine” the state’s electoral system.