Opinion | Paul Olson: Thank you Colorado for letting me vote
In the 2020 presidential election, Joe Biden received 81,268,924 popular votes and Donald Trump had 74,216,154, according to the Federal Election Commission. These vote totals were certified by the election officials in all 50 states. The popular vote resulted in 306 Electoral College votes for Joe Biden and 232 for Donald Trump. The electoral votes were certified by Congress, making Biden the winner. These vote totals are facts. Donald Trump and his allies alleged there were ballot irregularities and voter fraud but they did not present any credible evidence, any facts, of this in court. That is why they never prevailed in over 40 lawsuits, and this includes 3 cases heard by the conservative U.S. Supreme Court. Trump’s Attorney General Willian Barr said that federal authorities did not uncover any widespread fraud that might have affected the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
Republicans who believe and spread the lie that the 2020 Presidential election was stolen from the GOP do a huge disservice to the Republican Party, conservatism and American democracy. Our country needs a viable, rational Republican Party to provide a conservative contrast to the Democrats so there is healthy debate on the issues, whether nationally or here in Summit County. There are many reasons for independent voters to favor the Republican Party over the Democrats, but voters are not going to be persuaded to lean more conservative if it appears that half the GOP believes in election fraud fairytales.
A cynical outgrowth of the false premise that voter fraud is common is the effort in many states to suppress voter turnout in future elections. One of the things I appreciate about Colorado is that we do not put obstacles in the the way of citizens to freely cast a ballot. We can be proud of the 76.4% turnout in Colorado for the 2020 election, the second-highest in the U.S. About three weeks before a Colorado election I can count on receiving my ballot in the mail along with a handy voters’ guide that helps me weed through the tricky wording on referendums. At a convenient time, I can relax at the kitchen table, sipping my coffee, and do my civic duty choosing among the candidates. When done I can mail my ballot or put it in one of the five drop boxes in the county. Or I can go to the polls on election day. Why aren’t all Americans this fortunate?
Fraudulently voting in Colorado is a Class 5 felony punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, imprisonment for up to 18 months, or both. Such fraud can include voting twice or registering to vote if under 18 years of age or if not a Colorado citizen. Voter fraud is very rare in Colorado because only a fool would risk getting hit with these severe penalties for the sake of an extra vote or two. There were only 11 cases of people registering or voting fraudulently that led to criminal convictions in Colorado between 2005 and 2020. All other states have similarly harsh voter fraud penalties and the same rarity of fraud. Claims of widespread voter fraud are propaganda dreamed up to pass restrictive voting laws in order to circumvent democracy.
It may be discouraging for conservatives in Summit County to have their county and state move in a liberal direction in recent elections, perhaps feeling their vote won’t make a difference. It is important to take the long view and always vote and also be active as a positive influence in your community.
Being involved in local charities, businesses, churches and clubs is a good way to live your conservative values and demonstrate them to others. It pays over time for conservatives to always nominate solid, experienced candidates who share common values with the majority of voters. Summit County elections are won by candidates that the average citizen can relate to and who have the skills to govern effectively. Liberal and conservative nut jobs need not apply.
Colorado primary elections are June 28, 2022. Be sure you are registered to vote. You can go to SummitCountyCO.gov/elections for information on voting in Summit County. GoVoteColorado.gov gives you information on voter registration and your current status. Your vote is your voice. Let it be heard on election day.
Paul Olson’s column “A Friendly Conservative” publishes biweekly on Tuesdays in the Summit Daily News. Olson has lived in Breckenridge since 1995. Semiretired, he works at REI in Dillon and enjoys snowboarding, Nordic skiing and hiking. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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