Colorado on Monday said it will become the first state to regularly conduct a sophisticated post-election audit that cybersecurity experts have long called necessary for ensuring hackers aren’t meddling with vote tallies. The procedure — known as a “risk-limiting” audit — allows officials to double-check a sample of paper ballots against digital tallies to determine whether results were tabulated correctly. The election security firm Free & Fair will design the auditing software for Colorado, and the state will make the technology available for other states to modify for their own use. The audit will allow Colorado to say, “with a high level of statistical probability that has never existed before,” that official election results have not been manipulated, said Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams in a statement.
Articles about voting issues in Colorado.
The state of Colorado is moving to audit future digital election results, hiring a Portland-based startup to develop software to help ensure that electronic vote tallies are accurate. The startup Free & Fair announced on Monday that it had been selected by the state to develop a software system for state and local election officials to conduct what are called “risk-limiting audits.” A risk-limiting audit, or RLA, is a method that checks election outcomes by comparing a random sample of paper ballots to the accompanying digital versions. The development comes amid deepening fears on Capitol Hill about the possibility of foreign interference in future elections, following Russia’s use of cyberattacks and disinformation to influence the 2016 presidential election. According to the U.S. intelligence community, Moscow’s efforts also included targeting state and local election systems.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams told the Trump administration in a letter dated Friday that the state’s election system works well and that a blanket request for voter information isn’t an effective way to seek out fraud. Williams’ nine-page response to President Donald Trump’s election integrity commission includes several recommendations to improve elections and suggests that it look elsewhere in its mission to uncover wrongdoing. “While this data may serve a purpose,” Williams wrote in his letter to the commission Friday, “a single request for data that lacks the non-public data necessary to accurately match voters across states can’t be used to effectively assess the accuracy of voter rolls.”
Nearly 3,400 Coloradans canceled their voter registrations in the wake of the Trump administration’s request for voter info, the Secretary of State’s Office confirmed Thursday, providing the first statewide glimpse at the extent of the withdrawals. The 3,394 cancellations represent a vanishingly small percentage of the electorate — 0.09 percent of the state’s 3.7 million registered voters. But the figure is striking nonetheless, with some county election officials reporting that they’ve never seen anything quite like it in their careers. The withdrawals began in earnest earlier this month, after a presidential advisory commission on election integrity requested publicly available voter information from all 50 states.
Colorado: Hundreds withdraw Colorado voter registrations in response to compliance with commission request | The Denver Channel
At least two Colorado county clerks say they’ve seen a large increase in the number of people who have withdrawn their state voter registration since Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams said he would send the Trump administration’s election integrity commission some voter-roll information in accordance with state law. Alton Dillard, a spokesperson for the Denver Elections Division, said 180 people have withdrawn their registration in the county since July 3. When compared to the eight people who withdrew their registration from June 26-29, it marks a 2,150 percent increase, according to Dillard.
Colorado: Elections head will withhold confidential data from White House commission | Colorado Springs Gazette
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams said Thursday he plans to fulfill a White House commission’s request for detailed state voter data by providing the same public information that would be available to anyone who asks. However, if information that’s considered confidential is requested, it’ll be held back, he said. Williams and all other secretaries of state in the country received a letter Wednesday detailing the request from Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a co-chair of the bipartisan Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. President Donald Trump created the commission last month to examine vulnerabilities in election systems “that could lead to improper voter registrations, improper voting, fraudulent voter registrations and fraudulent voting.”
Colorado: Remember the faithless electors? Colorado secretary of state wants to bolster rules banning them | Denver Post
Nearly six months after the Colorado statehouse became the unlikely stage for a dramatic attempt to deny Donald Trump the presidency, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams is looking to prevent a repeat performance of last year’s Electoral College theatrics. A proposed policy change would require Colorado presidential electors to take an oath swearing to back the winner of the state’s popular vote or be replaced by someone who will. The rule parallels an emergency protocol adopted in December that was aimed at defusing a planned Electoral College revolt led in part by Colorado’s Democratic electors.
The mechanisms are in place for Colorado to have an open primary next year and a presidential primary in 2020. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Thursday signed into law Senate Bill 305, giving direction to county clerks on how to conduct the elections that are new or revived in this state. Up until now, primary elections have been restricted to registered members of political parties, and Colorado has been in the minority of states that chooses its presidential party nominees via a caucus system where residents must be registered with the party and attend meetings.
A measure to implement Colorado’s new open primaries cleared the Colorado Senate and a House committee in rapid succession Monday, after lawmakers reached a late deal tweaking a controversial provision that would ask independent voters to declare a party preference. With the changes, the path now seems clear for Senate Bill 305 to become law. But it would retain a few key, disputed pieces from the original measure: unaffiliated voters still will be asked before the election if they prefer one party’s ballot to the other, and the party primary they choose to vote in still will be a matter of public record. When the measure was introduced, it immediately was assailed by supporters of open primaries, including the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and Let Colorado Vote, who complained that it would undermine what Colorado voters intended when they passed two ballot measures opening the state’s party primaries to unaffiliated voters.
If unaffiliated voters designate a preference in which major parties’ primary they want to cast a ballot without actually joining that party, they would be tagged as someone who voted in that political primary under a bill that is racing through the Colorado Legislature. Some county clerks say that provision in SB305, a bill that was introduced only last Wednesday and is being fast-tracked, flies in the face of the ballot question voters overwhelmingly approved last fall that allows unaffiliated voters to cast ballots in the party primary races without having to declare affiliation with that party. The bill, which won preliminary approval in the Colorado Senate on Friday, calls for sending voters two ballots during a primary election, with instructions to return only one.