Elections, Featured, Sherrie Peif

Secretary of State Jena Griswold named in federal lawsuit over Colorado’s voter rolls

DENVER — The problems for Secretary of State Jena Griswold just continue to grow.

Jena Griswold

Griswold, who is facing criticism for how she handles progressive versus conservative political spending, now faces a lawsuit over a refusal to show how Colorado voter rolls are maintained.

The Indiana-based group, Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), is suing Griswold in federal court for failure to allow the group access to voter list maintenance records.

PILF says inspection of the list, which includes data sent to Colorado by the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), is required by federal law, according to the filing. However, Griswold says her contract with ERIC prohibits sharing that information.

ERIC is a multi-state agency that was formed in 2012 years ago with Colorado as one of the founding states. Republican Scott Gessler was Secretary of State at the time. The idea was to have an agency that would assist states in helping clean up voter rolls, said Weld County Clerk and Recorder Carly Koppes, who is also the Colorado County Clerk’s Association President.

“Eleven states got together and said we can do better about exchanging voter information amongst ourselves,” Koppes told Complete Colorado, “As well as pulling in other data points to help secure and clean up our voter registration lists.”

The number of states that now use ERIC has nearly tripled in its 10-year existence.

According to a story in the Epoch Times, Griswold said the “federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act and other laws governing the Social Security death record database … and documents under the National Voter Registration Act,” also prevent her from handing over the records.

Koppes said the information the state gets from ERIC includes personal identifying information of voters.

“There are a lot of John Smiths in the state of Colorado,” Koppes said. “Statewide since ERIC started, we went from hundreds of thousands of undeliverable ballots down to 1 or 2 percent of the ballots that are sent out.

“We try to cast as big a net as we can to have voter registration as clean as possible,” Koppes said. “But at the end of the day, it is still the responsibility of the voter to make sure voter registration is correct.”

PILF filed its suit on December 16 in U.S. District Court.

Also, according to the Epoch Times story, on “Aug. 20, PILF notified Griswold that she was in violation of the NVRA for failure to permit inspection of voter list maintenance records as required” by federal law … and on Nov. 18, Griswold notified PILF that she wouldn’t be complying with the group’s requests, the complaint states.”

“Colorado is hiding voter list maintenance documents the public is legally entitled to,” said PILF President J. Christian Adams in a news release. “Elections must be free and transparent for Americans to trust their results. Secretary Griswold and ERIC are blocking transparency and violating federal law.”


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