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Colorado Secretary of State and Rep. Ken Buck in war of words over voter registration process

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Colorado's secretary of state Rep. Ken Buck, R-Co., are in the midst of a war of words over the congressman's request for a federal investigation into the state’s voter registration process.

Buck's request followed a now-retracted report by CBS4 Denver, which inaccurately linked a ballot mailing list to a voter roll that submitted voting registration instructions to unregistered people, including ineligible voters and deceased people.

“This partisan, politically-motivated attack from the Colorado GOP is an attempt to undermine confidence in our elections by fear mongering and spreading debunked election misinformation,” Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold said in a statement to Fox News Thursday.

The issue arose after reports surfaced that voter registration postcards sent by the secretary of state’s office – the body responsible for Colorado elections – were widely distributed to unregistered voters throughout the state. About a dozen ineligible voters received the instructions including migrants and deceased people.

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Buck pushed back on Griswold's claims Thursday of "election misinformation," and accused the secretary of state of working "to gaslight" voters and the media.

“The Colorado Secretary of State continues to gaslight both the public and the media," Buck told Fox News Thursday. "The claims I made have not been ‘debunked,’ she sent voter registration post cards to dead people, non-US citizens who would not be eligible to vote, as well as people who don’t live in the state of Colorado."

State conservatives reacted after the CBS4 Denver report, which inaccurately claimed that the list used to submit voter registration information was the same list used to mail out ballots.  The original report was removed and replaced with a corrected article.

“I write to share my concerns about recent reports that the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office mailed voter registration postcards to non-citizens and deceased individuals during a recent voter registration drive,” Buck wrote to Attorney General William Barr Wednesday.

CBS4 News Director Tim Wieland issued a corrected story with Griswold’s explanation that the list used to target unregistered voters “is not the same mailing as our ballot mailing.”

But Buck has called for the Department of Justice and the Federal Election Commission to investigate Griswold despite the redacted story.

“The fact of the matter is that the Secretary of State mailed voter registration postcards to dead people and non-citizens,” Buck said in a tweet Thursday.

In a statement to Fox News, Griswold said sending voter registration postcards is a practice that was started under former Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler.

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“The postcard clearly states in bold that to be an eligible voter, a person must be a citizen, 18 years old by the election, and reside in [Colorado] for 22 days before the election,” Griswold said.

But in his letter to Barr, Buck highlights his concerns over the use of a third party system to identify unregistered voters and said that what is "concerning is the unknown quantity and scope of these errors.”

Buck and Griswold engaged in heated Twitter exchanges after the congressman first announced his continued concerns after the corrected story was released.

“Russia doesn't have to worry about spreading election misinformation in Colorado. [Buck] is doing it for them,” Griswold wrote in a tweet.

Griswold, the youngest secretary of state in the country, has been vocal on social media in condemning the Republican Party’s alleged attempts to invalidate the mail-in voting system in the lead up to the general election.

“I’m surprised you haven’t tried to send ballots to Russians trying to register them to vote in Colorado,” Buck tweeted back to her.

“Ballots aren’t sent to anyone ‘trying to register to vote,’” Griswold responded Tuesday. “That’s the disconnect and why you’re spreading election misinformation [Buck]. Happy to explain how Colorado elections work and voting qualifications – let me know.”

"The Secretary of State should get off Twitter and instead focus on making sure that all Colorado residents are able to vote and not dead people," Buck said in a statement to Fox News.

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“It’s a shame that Congressman Buck and the Colorado GOP are complicit in the President’s efforts to spread misinformation and discredit Colorado’s election model, which is recognized as the gold standard across the country and has resulted in electoral victories for their own party,” Griswold said in her statement to Fox News. “This partisan, politically-motivated attack from the Colorado GOP is an attempt to undermine confidence in our elections by fear mongering and spreading debunked election misinformation."

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