Jefferson County GOP recruits “poll watchers” with overtly racist message

Thursday, September 27, 2012
CONTACT: Joanne Schwartz, Executive Director at 303-991-1900

DENVER: Learning of efforts by the Jefferson County Colorado Republican Party to recruit “poll watchers” for this year’s elections by suggesting that members of the Black Panther organization “will be there too,” ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, demanded an apology for this senseless appeal to racism.

The political blog Colorado Pols posted an image of the Jefferson County GOP’s website yesterday. 1 At the top center of the homepage, a photo of two African-American men is shown—members of the Black Panther Party in Philadelphia—with the words, “Pollwatchers Needed, Because these guys will be there too! Contact Amy to sign up for training or receive more information.” The image was removed later in the evening.

“The Jefferson County Republican Party is recruiting so-called ‘poll watchers’ using the worst kind of open appeal to racism,” said Schwartz, “in a community where there is absolutely no threat of any kind.”

“Coloradans on both sides of the aisle should be outraged.  We call on all Coloradans to condemn the Jefferson County Republican Party’s overt appeals to racism,” said Schwartz, “and for the Jefferson County Republican Party to apologize.”

“This disgusting and obvious racism has no place in Colorado politics,” said Schwartz.