By Karen Gutiérrez
Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold led a Voting Rights Roundtable last week with special guests, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, and State Senator Rhonda Fields and Colorado Education Association (CEA) President Amie Baca-Oehlert. They discussed the importance of protecting democracy and expanding voting access for everyone.
The roundtable was moderated by Amanda Gonzalez, the former executive director of Common Cause Colorado and current candidate for Jefferson County Secretary of State.
Emhoff discussed the importance of voting, ensuring free and fair elections, and maintaining our democracy.
“That is why I am here supporting Jena Griswold and talking to all of you about the importance of having a strong American—a patriot—in the role of Secretary of State,” said Emhoff. “We need to safeguard our democracy, and she is a fierce fighter and defender of our democracy, which for me is true patriotism and love for the country.”
Emhoff described how projects such as the American Rescue Plan and Inflation Reduction Act have repaired the nations’ economy and critical infrastructure. He emphasized how Democrats must do well in the midterm elections in order to keep up and build upon the progress of these initiatives.
“We increased drop boxes by 65%, added more in-person voting, restored voting rights to 11,000 Coloradans, [and] we approved and implemented automatic voter registration,” said Secretary Griswold, of the State’s achievements over the past four years.
“That is why I am here supporting Jena Griswold and talking to all of you about the importance of having a strong American—a patriot—in the role of Secretary of State.”
Doug Emhoff, Second Gentleman of the U.S.
Senator Fields spoke about the work that is being done by the State Senate to prevent voter intimidation by gun owners holding open carry demonstrations near polling locations.
Baca-Oehlert discussed the effects attacks on our democracy. “As an educator, we are seeing all over our state, all over our country, attacks on our democracy. I believe that public education is the foundation of our democracy, and it is under attack like never before,” stated Baca-Oehlert. “I think we need to take a step back and think about how we elect the right people to defend and protect the things that we have put in place in our state.
“There must be a space to ensure that our most vulnerable citizens, no matter where they live, their zip code, their background, the color of their skin, or who they choose to love, will not face barriers to their participation in our democracy,” added Baca-Oehlert.
“I am running for office because I want to make sure that every eligible voter votes, and that their ballot is accurately counted,” said Secretary Griswold. “And as I stand in the doors, as I speak to voters, I get questions about health care, I get questions about education, and I get questions about our environment because voting rights are the foundation of all other rights. And to be honest, talking to such committed people gives me hope.”
Karen Gutiérrez is an Independent Reporter for The Weekly Issue/El Semanario.
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