Colorado Secretary of State Urges Media Not to Report Results on Election Night

October 2, 2020 Updated: October 2, 2020

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold on Thursday asked news outlets not to make projections or post any results on Nov. 3.

Griswold, a Democrat, said in a lengthy statement on social media, “Our democracy cannot be held hostage to a ratings race. If you care about our democracy, you will protect it. Full Stop.”

Griswold, the state’s top elections official, said the COVID-19 pandemic, and President Donald Trump’s alleged indication that he may claim victory on election night, was motivating her call.

“Indisputable facts: 1. This is no normal election. A record number of Americans will be voting by mail. 2. Election ‘night’ will be dramatically different than ever before. We need an UNPRECEDENTED plan from the media for how they will cover an unprecedented election,” she wrote.

“That is why I am calling on national media networks to pledge to #PressPause for democracy and: 1. Make NO projections on election night 2. Announce NO election results on election night.”

Griswold’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Griswold later deleted the tweets and apologized.

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Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold in an undated photograph. (Colorado Secretary of State’s Office)

“I would like to apologize for a tweet I put out earlier tonight. It was confusing, and the point I was trying to make was made inartfully. My intention was to draw attention to the fact that other states across the nation are drastically adopting new voting procedures, and it is critically important that these changes be taken into account in election night reporting,” she said.

Some states may not be able to process ballots until Election Day or after, though Colorado is not one of them, Griswold said.

She also called the press “a key pillar of our democracy,” adding, “I have full confidence the media will handle this professionally and accurately.”

In a separate missive, Griswold said nothing about her office’s election night reporting has changed.

“Just asking national media to not declare winners/losers when there will be millions of mail ballots uncounted,” she said.

President Donald Trump’s and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaigns didn’t respond to requests for comment about Griswold’s statements.

The Colorado GOP reacted early Friday.

“Colorado has been voting by mail for years and simultaneously releasing results on Election Night. It is shocking that @JenaGriswold is now trying to order the media to not report election night results,” the party stated.

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A voting sign sits outside the Union Station polling center in Denver, Colo., on June 30, 2020. (Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

At least one Republican member of Congress is also calling for a federal investigation into Colorado’s sending of voter registration postcards to non-citizens and dead people.

CBS4, a Denver broadcaster, reported last week that about a dozen of the postcards went to people who were not citizens or deceased.

The broadcaster later deleted the story under pressure from Griswold and published an interview with the secretary of state in which she defended the mailings.

“I think the key is that the mailing to encourage potentially unregistered people to register is not the same mailing as our ballot mailing. Those are two separate universes,” she said.

“When we send you a ballot or the county clerk sends out a ballot, those are to people who are registered. This postcard, encouraging people to register, goes to people who are potentially eligible but unregistered and, you know, the mailings aren’t always 100 percent correct.”

Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) said the Department of Justice and Federal Election Commission should investigate the matter to see if there were any violations of federal election law.

“In Colorado, the secretary of state sent out postcards to dead people, to migrant workers on farms that were not U.S. citizens, to visitors from foreign countries,” Buck said Thursday night on Fox News’ “Ingraham Angle.”

“They are trying to get people registered to vote who are ineligible to vote,” he added later.

On Twitter, Griswold accused Buck of doing Russia’s job by “spreading election misinformation” while Buck fired back, saying, “I’m surprised you haven’t tried to send ballots to Russians trying to register them to vote in Colorado.”

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