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Our View: Secretary Griswold can show more restraint

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold has not held back comments about Donald Trump, calling him an insurrectionist in tweets, on MSNBC and CNN. She’s connected her criticism of him to defending the integrity of our state’s elections.

“Will I become quiet? The answer is absolutely not,” said Griswold, a Democrat. “We are in an unprecedented and dangerous political climate. It is not partisan or political to protect our democracy.”

Republicans’ six articles of impeachment alleged Griswold used her position to support the state Supreme Court decision that removed Trump from the Colorado presidential primary ballot; she politicized her office; and denied him the right to due process by saying he’s an insurrectionist.

Of course, with Democrats controlling the House, the impeachment resolution didn’t stand a chance. Griswold’s free to exercise her rights to speech and say what she pleases, and her words and actions did not warrant an impeachment resolution.

The concern, though – and this is a big one – is the impression of putting politics over professionalism, alienating voters who disagree and, possibly, undermining the top election official’s office.

Appearance, in itself, is a standard-bearer.

The position of Secretary of State is party-affiliated, but why? Maybe it’s time this elected position shouldn’t be one with a “D” or an “R” next to candidates’ names on ballots, like school board or City Council elections.

The good news is no matter one’s political persuasion, our election system has enough proven checks and balances to make it safe and reliable.

But there’s something to be said for doing one’s job while flying under the radar.

Appearing nonpartisan, other officeholders put pride in this distinction, including Republicans former Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Pam Anderson, a previous city and county clerk, and Griswold’s 2022 opponent.

La Plata County Clerk and Recorder Tiffany Lee switched from Republican to unaffiliated. It was a personal choice with a smart professional effect.

We also understand Griswold’s wont to defend herself. She had no role in the decision to remove Trump from the ballot, and continually had to explain that it was the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision. Not hers.

Griswold said she would follow whatever orders were handed down from the U.S. high court. She did just that, never removing Trump’s name as the case moved through the court system.

It’s true that three courts did look at the question of whether Trump engaged in insurrection and ruled that he did. That could have been enough.

Passionate about protecting the right to vote, Griswold has done much good work. A potential gubernatorial candidate for 2026, she’s comfortable sharing in front of cameras and on social platforms.

But public trust often comes down to perception. No need for Griswold to engage more than is necessary within the scope of her job. She can show more restraint.