Hand inserting a piece of paper into a ballot box in front of the Colorado flag.

Colorado secretary of state deletes tweets urging media to refrain from announcing election results, issues apology

© iStock - Niyazz
Derek Draplin | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold apologized late Thursday for tweeting that media networks should refrain from announcing election results the night of the general election on November 3.

Griswold, in now-deleted tweets, said, “Our democracy cannot be held hostage to a ratings race. If you care about our democracy, you will protect it. Full Stop.”

“We are in the middle of a pandemic and the President of the United States has telegraphed that he may claim victory on election night, even when millions of ballots will not have been counted,” she continued.

Griswold said given the COVID-19 pandemic, “a record number of Americans will be voting by mail” and election night will look “dramatically different than ever before.”

She said the solution was an “UNPRECEDENTED plan from the media” in how it covers “an unprecedented election.”

“That is why I am calling on national media networks to pledge to #PressPause for democracy and: 1. Make NO projections on election night 2. Announce NO election results on election night,” she tweeted.

The tweets drew wide criticism on social media.

"Strongly disagree," Colorado Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder, tweeted. "This will only cause mass confusion and creates an opening for reckless behavior from the President. Demanding journalists to withhold verifiable facts or rational projections is counter to how a free democracy works."

Griswold issued an apology later Thursday night. 

"I would like to apologize for a tweet I put out earlier tonight. It was confusing, and the point I was trying to make was made inartfully,” she said. “My intention was to draw attention to the fact that other states across the nation are drastically adopting new voting procedures, and it is critically important that these changes be taken into account in election night reporting.

“Unlike Colorado, some states may not be able to process ballots until Election Day or after,” she continued. “A free press is a key pillar of our democracy, and I have full confidence the media will handle this professionally and accurately."