Colorado is known for more than just picturesque mountain views and crystal-clear rivers. The Centennial State touts some of the best education, healthcare, and the best state economy in the nation. To add to this impressive list of achievements, Colorado has been christened as the safest state in the nation to host an election. Colorado’s impressive new title come from two different sources: The Washington Post and Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen. Over the last decade, Colorado took several steps forward in election security to ensure the integrity of its elections. First, Colorado implemented a first-of-its-kind risk-limiting audit. In 2013, the Colorado legislature codified this new auditing technique (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 1-7-515 (2013)), which was required for the 2017 elections and all “primary, general, coordinated, or congressional vacancy elections thereafter.” A risk-limiting audit is a form of statistical analysis that requires officials to match certain paper ballots with the electronic voting machines’ interpretation of the ballots. This ensures that the machine read the ballot correctly.
To guarantee audited ballots are completely random and not preselected by auditors, the process to select ballots has several levels of chance. First, a name is drawn from a hat of observers—individuals from around the nation who were invited to view the audit—and that person rolls a 10-sided die. This process is repeated until auditors achieve a 20-digit number—also known as a “seed”—which is required for the risk-limiting software. The number is input into the software to target specific ballots in particular ballot boxes from each county. The closer the race, the more ballots must be drawn in order to prove that there was not a statistically significant deviation from the final result. Ideally, the recorded responses on each paper ballot will match perfectly with the voting machines’ interpretation of each ballot. According to Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, the purpose of the risk-limiting audit is to ensure the integrity of elections.
Full Article: A Safe Place for Elections – State of Elections.