COLORADO, USA — Political ads paid for by outside groups are the ones that tend to be dark, ominous and truth twisting.
Political ads paid for by candidates are often truthful, at least when speaking about themselves.
A political ad paid for by Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold is one those, but it tries to take sole credit for work that was not hers alone.
AD/CLAIM: "It's why I’ve expanded in-person voting…"
VERDICT: Yes, but it was the state legislature that ultimately passed the bill that changed the election laws in Colorado. Changes that have come with input from county clerks.
A bill in 2019 updated how many in-person voting centers must be open based on the county's population. It also added in-person voting centers on college campuses. They are called "Voter Service and Polling Centers" and there are around 350 of them.
The first claim in this ad reaches out to a small population of Colorado voters.
In the June 2022 primary, 1% of votes were cast in person. Of more than 1.2 million votes cast, just 15,022 were done in-person, not even enough to fill Ball Arena.
In the Nov. 2021 election, 1% of votes were cast in-person (19,650) out of 1.5 million.
In the Nov. 2020 election, 6% of votes (198,645) were cast in-person, while 94% (three million) turned in their mail ballot.
AD/CLAIM: "Launched a statewide system so every voter can track their ballot…"
VERDICT: Yes, and it's called BallotTrax. Denver was the first county to use a ballot tracking system, and until this year has used Ballot Trace. Denver is now joining all Colorado counties, at least this year, in using BallotTrax.
AD/CLAIM: "Increased Mail Ballot Drop Boxes By Over 65%..."
VERDICT: Yes, but again, with help. The increase in ballot drop boxes was part of that 2019 state legislation that also added in-person voting centers. It also added drop boxes to college campuses. The number of drop boxes also increased because counties could get the cost covered through CARES Act funding.
AD/CLAIM: "And Passed Automatic Voter Registration, registering more than 350,000 eligible Coloradans."
VERDICT: Saying she passed automatic voter registration is a stretch. "Front-end opt out" automatic voter registration existed as a rule starting in 2017, before Griswold was Secretary of State. She helped modify how automatic voter registration works with another bill passed by the legislature in 2019 called "Automatic Voter Registration."
That changed the existing automatic voter registration into a "back-end opt out" process.
Starting in 2017, drivers getting a license or updating their address at the DMV would be asked if they wanted to register to vote. You could decline on the spot.
Now, because of that 2019 bill, you cannot decline to be registered to vote at the DMV. The DMV shares your info with the Secretary of State's Office which shares it with your County Clerk. Then, you get sent a mailer, where you can then opt-out and not be registered to vote, pick a party or do nothing and be registered as an unaffiliated voter.