Legislative Black Caucus calls on state to reject Trump’s voter data request

Author: Joey Bunch - July 6, 2017 - Updated: July 6, 2017

black caucus
Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver (Photo courtesy of the Colorado General Assembly)

The Colorado legislature’s Democratic Black Caucus formally asked Secretary of State Wayne Williams not to play ball with President Trump’s election integrity commission Thursday. A week ago Williams said he would provide only publicly available data and shield personal voter information.

“While Trump and Republicans in Washington continue to peddle this false narrative of illegal votes in the 2016 presidential election, this request is simply another form of voter suppression,” state Rep. Leslie Herod of Denver, a member of the Black Caucus, said in a statement.

“Colorado voters should always have access to fair and secure elections. I hope Secretary Williams will refuse the commission’s request for anything beyond public record and show Washington that Coloradans want to encourage voter participation, not hinder it.”

The caucus sent a letter to Williams, a Republican. The text of the letter is available here.

“Williams had said in numerous interviews that he has no intention of giving the commission anything but what is publicly allowable under the law – the same kind of information that we provide to the members of the black caucus and their party when they are campaigning for office,” said Lynn Bartels, spokeswoman for the Secretary of State’s Office and a close friend of this article’s author.

She noted the office works to encourage participation by state’s 3.6 million voters, not hinder it.  Colorado, Bartels said, has the highest percentage of voter participation nationwide, 87 percent of the eligible population, among other participation superlatives.

Other Black Caucus members are:

  • Rep. James Rashad Coleman of Denver.
  • Rep. Tony Exum Sr. of Colorado Springs.
  • Rep. Janet Thomas Buckner of Aurora.
  • Rep. Jovan E. Melton of Aurora.
  • Rep. Dominique Nikki Jackson of Aurora.
  • Sen. Rhonda Fields of Aurora.
  • Sen. Angela Williams of Denver.

House Speaker Crisanta Duran, a Democrat from Denver, stood with the Black Caucus Thursday.

“The Black Caucus has legitimate concerns that the presidential commission’s overreach could ultimately lead to restricted ballot access
and voter suppression,” she said in a statement. “I and other members of the legislature, including the Black Caucus, look forward
to continuing our work with Secretary Williams to protect the integrity of Colorado’s election system.”

Other legislative Democrats endorsing the letter were Reps. Susan Lontine of Denver, Alec Garnett of Denver, Paul Rosenthal of Denver, Mike Foote of Lafayette, KC Becker of Boulder, Chris Kennedy of Lakewood, Diane Mitsch Bush of Steamboat Springs. Dafna Michaelson Jenet of Commerce City, Joe Salazar of Thornton, Adrienne Benavidez of Commerce City, Faith Winter of Westminster, Mike Weissman of Aurora, Daneya Esgar of Pueblo, Jeni Arndt of Fort Collins and Donald Valdez of Pueblo.

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.