Election integrity was the clear winner of the Colorado Republican Party’s Assembly and Convention this weekend, while Kristi Burton Brown’s establishment had their delusions of “normal” shattered in spectacular fashion.
The State event was held Friday at the Hilton Doubletree and Saturday at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs and, based on this year’s local caucuses and assemblies I expected to see drama.
I wasn’t disappointed.
friday: grassroots flex against the establishment
Friday began early with delegates arriving prior to 7am to obtain credentials and vote for their preferred candidates in the Congressional District assemblies.
Lauren Boebert swept CD3, which was not surprising given that she is favored by grassroots conservatives for her rhetoric. In a way, Boebert showed the people of Colorado what was possible in 2020, and she is still beloved across the state despite her absolute silence on the issues her constituents care about most.
In a shock to CD4 delegates, Bob Lewis – a completely unknown candidate to those of us in CD4 – was nominated from the floor to primary Ken Buck, also known as Ken–Dominion-is-the-gold-standard-and-everything-is-awesome-with-our-elections–Buck.
Lewis took 62% of the vote and will appear ahead of Buck on the primary ballot. As a CD4 voter who (for shame!) voted and advocated for Buck in 2018 and 2020, I cannot believe that I missed Buck’s electoral faceplant. I didn’t arrive until Friday evening, when those of us who value integrity enthusiastically toasted the outcome.
Current State Representative Dave Williams secured the top of the ticket in his challenge of incumbent CD5 representative Doug Lamborn. Lamborn decided to sit out the assembly process due to the fact that he is deeply unpopular with Republicans in his district. In a bizarre letter to delegates prior to the assembly, Lamborn declared that he lost confidence in El Paso County leadership and that he planned to boycott the assembly process and qualify by petition.
“Candidates may petition onto the primary ballot while also going through the caucus/assembly process. I had planned to pursue both options, but not now. I officially decline to be nominated at the upcoming 5th CD Assembly this Saturday. I continue to have complete confidence in the 5th Congressional District leadership. They represent the many solidly honest, hard-working people who live here. Sadly, I do not have confidence in the El Paso County Republican leadership.”Congressman Doug Lamborn
Lamborn joins a number of establishment Republicans attacking the (dirty, unwashed, deplorable) people’s choice for El Paso County Chair, Vickie Tonkins. They’ve been attacking her since she was elected because it wasn’t her turn. Not a good look, Congressman.
Tonkins responded to Lamborn’s claims directly in a letter to delegates.
Newcomer Erik Aadland took 63% of the vote in CD7 after dropping out of the US Senate race earlier this year, upsetting expected favorite Laurel Imer. Lori Saine, a current Weld County Commissioner, will sit atop the ballot in Colorado’s new 8th congressional district. Boebert, Lewis, Williams, Aadland, and Saine may face additional candidates in the upcoming primary depending on the signature verification of candidates petitioning onto the ballot.
All evidence suggests that that 2022 is the year to challenge the Democrat strongholds, with unaffiliated voters (and most Americans) deeply unhappy with the current direction of the country. Against that backdrop, inexplicably, Chairwoman Brown’s Republican party isn’t even making an attempt in CD1, CD2, and CD6 – zero Republicans are running. Incredible.
Are there any Libertarian candidates that believe in national sovereignty and borders, or is that a purple unicorn type of request?
saturday: the establishment fights back
There can be no doubt that the topline message from the two-day event is that, as my favorite shirt says, LEGAL VOTES MATTER.
Simply put, candidates who have openly campaigned on election integrity performed well, and those that tried to straddle the fence in recent months did not. The latter are icing both their groins and their egos in the aftermath of this weekend while the grassroots are celebrating a hard fought win.
pick a side before it’s obvious you’re picking a side because that’s the only way you can get elected
Real estate developer Gino–you-don’t-need-a-gun-like-that–Campana seemed to get the message about election integrity, but it was far too late to impact the results of his US Senate race. Around 4:50pm MT on Saturday, after being painfully vague on election integrity since the inception of his campaign, Campana sent the following text to the delegates:
Campana’s text quickly became a meme among the integrity-focused delegates.
Representative Ron Hanks (HD60) took 39% of the vote in the US Senate race. Hanks is an outspoken and authentic integrity advocate and the only Colorado legislator to attend both/either the Maricopa County Audit and/or Mike Lindell’s Cyber Symposium. None of the other US Senate candidates at assembly – Campana, Deb Flora, Eli Bremer, or Peter Yu – qualified for the ballot.
Hanks will face Joe O’Dea in the June primary. When announcing his candidacy, O’Dea said, “Joe Biden’s a lousy president, but he’s the president — and that’s that.” So, clearly, he missed the memo from Saturday.
The surprise outcome of the US Senate assembly reaffirms that election integrity is, paradoxically, the number one issue on the ballot in November.
total vindication; ready for syndication
The Secretary of State race also affirmed the people’s focus on election integrity. Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, who has been totally vindicated based on actual evidence despite the ongoing dishonest media narrative, took a 61% majority of the assembled delegates. Lesser known candidate Mike O’Donnell took the remainder and, while I’m sure O’Donnell is lovely, on Saturday he served as an effective stand-in for those planning to vote for petitioning candidate Pam “ZuckerBucks” Anderson.
Anderson is currently on leave from the Center for Tech and Civic Life, Mark Zuckerberg’s infamous NGO that poured around $400M into the 2020 election. This topic is explored in the recent films, 2000 Mules and Rigged.
While I have no doubt that ballot harvesting and ballot box stuffing played a role in the crime of the century, I am equally convinced that the latter film is the Republican establishment’s attempt to campaign and fundraise on election integrity while keeping in place the current fraud- and vulnerability-ridden election system. You can watch the movie on Amazon, for Pete’s sake, meaning the establishment is just fine with its release.
While Peters and Hanks took the highest vote percentages of the night respectively – discounting the unopposed candidates for CU Regent, State Board of Education, and State Treasurer who took 100% – the Governor’s race provided the weekend’s greatest controversy.
clickety clack, don’t talk back
The Colorado Governor’s race was the first to be voted upon, but it may be the last to be resolved. The controversy centers around the use of Infowhyse EdiVote100 electronic voting devices, or “clickers,” to record and tally the votes.
During the morning read out of the Rules Committee, integrity activists made a valiant effort to prohibit the use of these devices and vote the assembly on paper ballots.
As I understand it, in order for the motion to proceed, the motion-maker needed to amend several rules in preparation for the call for paper ballots. Unfortunately, this made the entire motion process and reading convoluted and confusing as hell to the 3,772 delegates credentialed in, and it failed.
One delegate said about (the first) vote on paper ballots, “I didn’t understand what they were asking me to vote on! Then Kristi said we’d be there until midnight, and we wouldn’t know the results.”
Later in the proceeding, Chair of the Election Integrity Office Emily Brake moved to re-vote on the earlier motion due to reports of widespread confusion, and the Parliamentarian agreed (which is telling). Brown accepted the motion, but she refused to allow debate and neglected to share with the Body that all of the provisions outlined in the motion – watermarked paper ballots, clear ballot boxes, etc. – were onsite and ready for use. Rather, the motion was framed by Chairwoman Brown as an impossibility, and it failed a second time.
At that moment, KBB channeled Matt Crane and unilaterally declared that the time for debate on the rules was over. A delegate from Weld county said he was told that only 10 minutes had been allotted for the 3,772 delegates (representing thousands of Colorado citizens) to make motions; they used all that time fighting for paper.
Perhaps if they’d have been allowed one more motion, they could have raised how, according to the information available on the manufacturer website, these devices are unsupported and have been discontinued since July 2021.
wanna trigger the “left” and “right” at the same time?
In a complete surprise to me and thousands of delegates, my friend Joe Oltmann was nominated from the floor for Governor — to audible gasps followed by thunderous applause. When it comes to party business, I am usually the last to know, even among my closest friends and colleagues. This is understandable considering my position on the party and my tendency to publish their flaws and mock them relentlessly. Their trust issues on that topic are warranted.
Joe gave a fiery 10-minute speech – calling out corruption and highlighting that GOP counsel Chris Murray is employed by the same law firm that is the active registered lobbyist for Dominion Voting Systems – before declining the nomination.
Over a dozen people brought me their grievances on Oltmann’s refusal, with one delegate crying, “He broke my heart! How could he say no?”
Next, the declared candidates took their turns making campaign speeches, but the energy in the room was consolidated in three candidates: Greg Lopez, Heidi Ganahl, and Danielle Neuschwanger. The stage, the floor in front of the stage, and the area surrounding the stage was full of delegates standing with these three candidates.
When it was time to debut the discontinued and unsupported clickers, the result shocked the room:
Candidates need 30% of the vote to qualify for the ballot.
According to Neuschwanger, immediately after the vote, volunteers at her table were bombarded with claims that the clickers didn’t work for some delegates.
Reports of clicker issues spread through World Arena like a brush fire and, since Governor was the first of many assembly votes, I started paying closer attention to both the clickers and the claims.
at what point can we refer to these issues as widespread?
Delegates from Routt County shared that they had to sign out their clickers, and they were reprimanded for swapping, or appearing to swap, them. While that seemed to indicate that the serial numbers of the clickers were tied to the individual that signed them out, El Paso, Douglas, and Adams county delegates were just handing out the clickers with no tracking. El Paso County Chair Vickie Tonkins confirmed to me that, at least in her county, the clickers were not assigned by delegate or tracked.
I sure hope that’s true because some of the clickers had serial numbers / barcodes and some didn’t. The reason for this difference is unclear, but the official answer I received from party officials was that it didn’t matter because the barcodes are unimportant.
In order to verify your vote after the fact, the only two numbers required are the three-digit label (usually on the front) and the “channel number” which was displayed when pressing the Link button. According to the Teller Committee, these two numbers created a unique combination.
If you’ve ever tried to help your parents with technology, this explanation felt a lot like that, only with 3,770 additional (and confused) trainees and a really bitchy trainer.
According to the PowerPoint training given by Weld County Clerk and State Teller Committee Co-Chair Carly Koppes, it also mattered that the screen said “COUNTED.” Throughout the day, delegates were reporting that their clickers did not read “COUNTED” after voting. There didn’t appear to be any sort of recourse, helpdesk, or support for the clickers – delegates with issues were largely out of luck unless they found Koppes’ arrogant smirk remotely helpful.
Delegates and chairs from multiple counties shared with me that there were shortages of clickers — reasons (and number short by county) varied. Fremont County was missing one, Adams reported 10 clickers missing, but then shared the shortage was related to an issue with their delegate list. The official answer is that the GOP was short three clickers in total, because they just didn’t have any more.
El Paso County, the largest in Colorado, was given their clickers last of all counties in a process described as “chaotic and insecure” by integrity-focused delegates. This misstep delayed the start of voting for all counties. I have been unable to get a clear answer on why the distribution and tracking processes differed by county.
I also witnessed people with guest badges (not delegate badges) that were voting with clickers, found clickers lying around, and overheard a delegate confirm their choices with a person near them before handing them their clicker, hugging them goodbye, and leaving the arena. In a system with integrity, none of those actions would be permissible, but there were zero controls on Saturday.
As of press time, Chairwoman Brown did not respond to my request for comment. I specifically asked:
- Is it true that some of the clickers were driven up from Florida and arrived around 4am on Saturday morning, while others were shipped and others traveled via checked luggage? If not, where did the clickers come from and how did they travel?
- Was there an attempt at chain of custody made while the clickers were in transit and, if so, what did that look like?
- Did the Colorado GOP do any testing or verification/validation of the clicker devices prior to the vote? When did that occur?
- Was consistent guidance provided to all counties for the distribution of the devices?
- What was the plan for the vote if the clickers didn’t work?
- What recourse did the GOP have for delegates who encountered issues with their clicker devices? Was there a helpdesk or support function?
- Who made the decision to go with the clicker devices that you all chose? Specifically, what drove the vendor decision? Why the last minute delivery? Did another contract fall through?
- Have you reviewed the concerns of the Neuschwanger campaign, and do you have any comment on the allegations of clickers not recording votes during the gubernatorial vote?
I will update this post with any answer(s) I receive from the Chairwoman and, if she responds, I will also ask her comment on why she insisted on using devices in our elections that were discontinued and are currently unsupported. I made that discovery after I sent the original email.
people vs. party vs. people
The Republican establishment is doing everything possible to remain the minority party in Colorado. And, while it’s probable that the irony of the situation is lost on them, it’s more likely that they completely understand – but ease, access and the ability to manipulate outcomes are simply more valuable than integrity and public trust.
In a state where unaffiliated voters comprise the majority, where most people just want to be left alone, the uniparty authoritarians have overplayed their hand.
The GOP establishment just figured that out.
Come November, so will everyone else.
One last thing…if anyone tells you not to vote in November, slap them across the face and scream, “TRAITOR!” Okay, be peaceful and make your response authentic to you, but don’t ever let anyone influence you to not vote. We know from Florida in 2020 that turnout breaks the algorithm. That said, voting early tells them the margin. Vote in person, on election day – as late in the day as possible. And treat your ballot like currency – it’s actually way more precious.