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Our elections are under attack. 

This is, unfortunately, nothing new. On and off throughout American history, there have been countless efforts to disenfranchise voters or undermine faith in our electoral systems. But, in recent years, one former president, in particular, has made it his business to sow mistrust in our democracy. Today, the seeds of that mistrust have been scattered far and wide. Some have even taken root here in Boulder. 

Late last month, Bill DeOreo, the Republican candidate for House District 10, filed a complaint against the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, arguing that the county has not been adequately monitoring its remote drop boxes.

DeOreo, who did not respond to a request for comment, said he became concerned about some of the county’s ballot drop boxes when participating in a Boulder County election office tour in June. According to the complaint, the position of the cameras and the available lighting were too poor to clearly see the faces of the people using the boxes or to clearly see what they were inserting into the boxes. 

Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Molly Fitzpatrick has defended her office’s practices and contended that they adhered “to Colorado’s election laws and regulations, including the requirements applicable to ballot drop boxes.” 

Whether DeOreo’s complaint holds water, the specter of potential fraud has been inserted into our upcoming local election. And it’s difficult not to associate this effort with Trump’s continued push to undermine election integrity. 

The truth, of course, is that while claims of voter fraud have become extremely common, voter fraud itself is extremely rare. 

By one measure, the rate of voter fraud is less than 0.0001%

As for our infamous most recent election, NPR recently put it rather succinctly, “The 2020 election has been scrubbed and studied as none other in U.S. history, and the consensus conclusion remains that it was run more smoothly and counted more reliably than ever.” 

That holds true in Boulder. As Fitzpatrick was forced to explain in April, thousands of dead people did not vote in the 2020 election. No real data or evidence of massive election tampering has been presented.

What’s troubling in this particular case is that the cameras that are pointed at the ballot drop boxes are not even meant to be used to identify voters. Video surveillance is there to provide law enforcement with information in the event that someone tries to tamper with the boxes. 

It is one thing to take issue with the fact that the cameras were not designed to identify voters — legally they do not have to be capable of identifying voters — and it is another to intimate that something is awry. 

Election security is vital and good faith efforts to prevent fraud are essential. But our system is already working. Insinuating otherwise is blatantly disingenuous.  

Free and fair elections are the backbone of our democracy — or our democratic republic if you want to split hairs. To have a government of the people, by the people and for the people, we must have fair and representative elections, which require a plurality of participation. 

If a party is afraid that they will lose elections if everyone is allowed to vote, the solution cannot be to sow mistrust or attempt to disenfranchise voters. The solution must be to grow and adapt and meet constituents where they are — the solution must be to earn their votes. 

Elected officials, after all, are public servants, and they serve at the pleasure of the people. So being prepared to accept the results of an election — to listen to the will of the voters you are vying to serve — should be a measure of fitness for all candidates.

Together, we must use our voices and our votes to put an end to disingenuous attempts to undermine the integrity of our elections.

—Gary Garrison for the Editorial Board