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Our View: Anderson for secretary of state

Deciding between two excellent candidates is a good problem to have. But it does make an endorsement difficult.

We are, though, endorsing Republican Pam Anderson for Colorado Secretary of State because of her intention to eliminate partisanship in this highly professional position. This mission alone – simple and needed – won us over. We’ve seen a disturbing trend in politicizing offices, from local levels all the way up to Washington. A nonpartisan approach would best serve voters. We hope Anderson as secretary of state will restore some voter confidence among all parties.

Anderson has an ambitious agenda – signature verification, voter registration audits, equitable funding streams for elections and more. She also plans to take seriously office employee turnover and implement a citizens’ academy, which explains voting processes and what, exactly, the office of secretary of state does. The complexity of the job has increased dramatically but funding and support hasn’t followed. The last thing we need is to politicize this office further.

Anderson has served as head of the Colorado County Clerks Association, building policies and procedures to safeguard – and make accessible – our election system. She is a former Jefferson County clerk and recorder, and Wheat Ridge municipal clerk, and has had a hand in election reform for 20 years and counting.

“Thoughtful competence” is a distinction Anderson says she has in being able to talk with people of any political persuasion. Even election deniers, the bane of any real election official. This is a fine leadership quality.

We appreciate that Anderson wants to focus on the nitty-grittiness of the process. We see her as the person to take us to this next level of evidence-based elections.

Secretary of State Jena Griswold has served Coloradoans well in her election work. Griswold added drop boxes and voting centers, guaranteed voting access on public colleges and tribal lands, and barred foreign political spending. She had much to do with automatic voter registration, which led to more than 350,000 eligible Coloradans registering to vote. This is huge.

She implemented statewide ballot tracking and assisted other states in adopting Vote by Mail for All during the pandemic.

But Griswold’s most shining moment was in addressing the internal election security breach when Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters compromised her own system in an attempt to prove conspiracies. Swift and decisive, Griswold decertified voting equipment, asked a judge to bar Peters from overseeing her county's elections, then persuaded her 2018 Republican opponent to supervise Mesa County elections. Griswold brought back election integrity to Mesa County.

She’s done much good work.

Griswold confused us, though, when her office spent more than $1 million in federal election assistance funds to air ads with former Secretary of State Republican Wayne Williams on combating election misinformation. Don’t get us wrong – we strongly agree with the message. But the timing before the primary could come across as a plug for Griswold’s reelection.

Griswold has done the talk-show circuit and challenged former President Donald Trump on Twitter. She’s weighed in on polarizing issues. She’s personable and likable. We just question whether these moves were best in the role of secretary of state.

It’s important to stay above the election fray. We believe that person for the job, at this time, is Anderson.