Texts to Eagle County residents encourage people to vote in person on Election Day

Texts were sent to unaffiliated voters and claim to be from the local Republican party

Shad Murib, who is married to local state Sen. Kerry Donovan, shared this image of a text sent to his mother-in-law.
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Several unaffiliated voters in Eagle County on Oct. 14 received text messages encouraging them to vote in person Nov. 8. The messages claim to be from the Eagle County Republican Party.

The message

This message was sent Oct. 14, before ballots were mailed:

“Wait! (Name) did you get your ballot? Hold on 2 it & put in the ballot box ON Nov. 8.

For voting info,”

Tony Martinez, the chairman of the Eagle County Republican Party, declined to give a statement on the subject. But a page on the party’s website urges voters to “Vote in person November 8th by visiting your Polling center before 7 p.m. We must overwhelm the system and not stay home.”

The page then refers voters to the Eagle County Clerk & Recorder’s website so voters can find their nearest voting center. Those centers on Nov. 8 will be in Vail, Avon, Eagle and El Jebel.

The text message also matches an Oct. 12 meeting announcement email from the Eagle County Republicans to members of the Eagle County party’s central committee.

That message reads, in part, “Wait! Did you get your ballot? Hold on to it until Election Day, November 08, 2022, then drop it into the ballot box the day of the election, if possible.

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Vail Valley Partnership CEO and President Chris Romer has been an unaffiliated voter since 2016. Romer said he received one of the text messages.

“I don’t understand the end game,” Romer said, adding that the message “essentially feels like a lack of faith in the election system.”

Romer added that in his view, Colorado’s is a “model system with signature verification and drop boxes. I don’t understand the message.”

Shad Murib’s mother-in-law also received a text. Murib, long involved with the Democratic Party, is married to State Sen. Kerry Donovan.

Murib said the texts appear to tell voters “not to trust the voting system.” That seems self-defeating, Murib said.

These texts appear not to be unique to Eagle County. Eagle County Clerk and Recorder Regina O’Brien in a text message wrote that the push for in-person voting could “easily increase the number of ballots counties receive on Election Day.” Eagle County currently sees about 30% to 40% of all ballots returned on Election Day. The vast majority are either dropped off at one of seven 24-hour drop boxes — all of which are under 24-hour surveillance — or sent in the mail.

O’Brien added she’s had voters reaching out to her office with questions about the texts. The main question is why a voter received that message.

Matt Solomon is an Eagle Republican running for the Colorado Senate in the newly redrawn District 8. That district includes Eagle, Summit, Routt, Grand, Jackson, Garfield, Rio Blanco, Clear Creek, Gilpin and Moffat counties.

In a text, while campaigning, Solomon wrote he isn’t aware of the texts. But, he added, “I’d encourage everyone, Republican, Democrat or independent/unaffiliated to vote either by mailing in their ballot or going to their local precinct. It’s what makes democracy great.” And, he added, he’ll certainly cast a ballot.

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