Colorado Elections Director Judd Choate has proclaimed “great faith” in the results of two dubious political races in south-central Colorado and says two of his staffers were on hand to help with its “retabulation.”
“On the fifth of November, we sent down a couple of people to work on their retabulation, and we had two of our people … help [Saguache] County reassess their numbers,” Choate told the state’s Best Practices and Vision Commission, which he chairs, in a January meeting. “They saw no problems.”
The explanation was intended to quiet an escalating controversy in Saguache County, where County Clerk Melinda Myers reversed the results of the Nov. 2 election and three days later declared herself the winner. The outcome of the county commissioner’s race also flipped in favor of the incumbent in Myers’ party.
The problem with Choate’s account is that it isn’t true. Amy Wilson, the secretary of state’s elections trainer, was not present for the retabulation. Neither was a state lawyer Choate said was there. Richard Coolidge, spokesman for the secretary of state, now says that Choate “misspoke.” But the misinformation trickling out of the state’s elections division is producing more momentum for the avalanche of allegations crashing down on Myers’ office door.
The Colorado Attorney General’s Office has opened a criminal investigation into “the general conduct of the election.” Citizens are circulating a petition calling for a grand jury. And a small-town reporter is doggedly cranking out stories about “secret meetings,” grainy videotapes and alleged abuses of power.