"We had a two-hour meeting with [the association]...where they didn't bring a single one of these things up," he said. "I think you have some of the clerks and recorders in that association who are maybe speaking for other people that don't fully represent their views, because a lot of the things that they were frustrated with are stuff that we've really pushed to help people to register to vote."
We reached out this morning to the association and will update if we hear back.
Gessler said that most of their complaints are about efforts that have ultimately increased registrations.
"Online voter registration has been a huge success," he said. "Right now, we're at about 400,000 more registered voters now than four years ago, which is a huge increase. Since the beginning of September, we've had over a million people visit our online voter registration system.... The stuff that they were sort of complaining about...has been overall, I think, a huge success in Colorado. Obviously, there are some clerks and recorders who are unhappy with the implementation details. I think you're always going to get that. Obviously, I want to make sure that we implement things as well as possible, so if there's room for improvement, we'll do that. But I think that some of them were just being a little bit unreasonable."
He said that registration has gone very well, noting that on Monday, the website logged 85,000 visits.
While Gessler, a Republican, has faced a steady stream of criticism in the months leading up to the election, this letter was perhaps more unusual given that the attack was not from a left-leaning group but from a mix of clerks from both parties (though it's certainly not the first time he has clashed with county clerks this election cycle).
Gessler often brushes aside criticisms as partisan attacks on his office -- so was he surprised that this was in theory a more bipartisan critique?
"Not entirely," he said. "Before I even came into office, I had some big fights with the clerks and recorders, where they tried to change the way we do balloting here in the state of Colorado and I opposed that. So I had a lot of clerks that were very upset with me. And this may be some residue from that anger they had."
"I know it's always been that way," he added of the clashes between the Secretary of State, who oversees elections, and the county clerks, who work on the local level. "It would be nice if everyone would recognize the good...but I think that tension's just sort of always been there."Continue for more photos.