An app that some Denver voters used in 2019 has significant security issues, according to a new study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The study that was released Thursday said hackers could potentially block or change a vote and steal a voter’s personal information from the app Voatz. The Denver Elections Division used Voatz in the May and June municipal elections for about 300 military and overseas voters. The Division did not report any security issues. “We were very happy with it,” said Director of Elections Jocelyn Bucaro. Burcaro said voter turnout increased significantly with Voatz. Traditionally, military members and others who are overseas and vote electronically would have to print a ballot, sign an affidavit, scan the documents and email them. Voatz allowed the voters to submit their ballots by just using a smartphone. Also, the division used a three-step process to ensure the app and votes were secure. “We are really grateful for the MIT researchers and releasing that report because we’ve been wanting more security review of the Voatz application and other vendors in this space,” Bucaro said.Full Article: MIT study: voting app that Denver used could be hacked | FOX31 Denver.
Articles about voting issues in Colorado.
Colorado: County clerks ask federal, state officials for cash | Charles Ashby/Grand Junction Sentinel
Colorado’s county clerks are asking state and federal lawmakers to send money, lots of it. In a letter Wednesday to the state’s two U.S. senators — Democrat Michael Bennet and Republican Cory Gardner — the Colorado County Clerks Association asked them to ask U.S. Senate leaders to make sure they include funding to ensure the state’s and nation’s election systems are protected from cyber attacks, among other things. “Despite extraordinary progress by state and local election officials to improve election security, upgrade equipment and implement audit procedures, critical vulnerabilities remain,” wrote Janice Vos Caudill, Pitkin County clerk and current association president. “Although Colorado leads the nation in secure election practices — for example, Colorado is the first U.S. state to require risk-limiting audits after each election — there is much more Colorado can do with additional federal money,” she added. “This funding needs to be earmarked specifically to harden local government systems in a comprehensive way.”Full Article: Colorado clerks ask federal, state officials for cash | Western Colorado | gjsentinel.com.
Colorado: Secretary of State’s Office begins post-election ballot audit | Michael Karlik/Colorado Politics
Secretary of State Jena Griswold on Friday directed county clerks to begin the audit of a random selection of ballots after this month’s general election. A press release said that this risk-limiting audit, the only statewide one in the country following most elections, provides a “high statistical level of confidence that the outcome of an election is correct and reflects the will of the voters.” Colorado conducted its first statewide audit in 2017, covering all counties that used machines to tally their votes. Two counties, Jackson and San Juan, do not perform an audit because their ballots are hand counted. The secretary of state’s office randomly chose the ballots for each clerk to review using a 20-digit number, generated from multiple rolls of a 10-sided die. “If what the audit board reports matches how the voting system tabulated the ballots, the audit concludes,” Griswold’s website explains. “If there are discrepancies, additional ballots are randomly selected to compare until the outcome has been confirmed. If the wrong outcome was reported eventually all of the ballots will be examined and a new outcome will be determined.”Full Article: Secretary of State’s Office begins post-election ballot audit | News | coloradopolitics.com.
Colorado: Operating system update causes upset for county clerks | Christian Burney/La Junta Tribune-Democrat
Otero County Clerk and Recorder’s Office is lagging in some areas after an update last Wednesday to the operating systems of their office computers. Elections Clerk Lynda Scott said at the Monday Board of County Commissioners meeting that after the state assisted the clerk and recorder’s office in updating their computers from Windows 7 to Windows 10 they began experiencing severe slowdowns with computer systems in the clerk’s office and with county vehicle and licensing services. Scott said she was told by state officials that Windows 10 requires a higher bandwidth and that is the source of their technical issues. Scott also added that the state had been aware of Windows 10′s bandwidth requirements and that at least a heads up about the issue would have been appreciated before the install happened last week. “We’re doing the best we can to let them know we are working on it,” said Scott. “State informed us today that they are looking into Comcast, possibly, to put us on that (service provider). But it may be two weeks or a month or more before we know for sure.Full Article: Operating system update causes upset for county clerks - News - Fowler Tribune - Fowler, CO - La Junta, CO.
Colorado: Garfield County election judges stay busy in early November | Chelsea Self /Post Independent
On and leading up to Election Day, anyone who enters Room 101 B in the Garfield County Courthouse must sign in and out with a bright pink or green pen – intentionally different colors than the blue or black ink voters use to fill out their ballots. It’s just one of the many steps taken to ensure all votes are counted – and that the count is done with integrity. “We have all of these checks and balances,” Lois Wilmoth said. Wilmoth, who was born and raised in Glenwood Springs, has served as a mail-in election judge for over a decade. Monday, Wilmoth meticulously verified that the number of envelopes that entered room 101 B matched the amount of ballots that would eventually run through the scanning machines. “Once you have a problem, you stop. Nobody goes ahead anywhere until you find the ballot that is missing,” Wilmoth said.Full Article: Garfield County election judges stay busy in early November | PostIndependent.com.
Colorado: The public, election officials may be kept in the dark on hacks around the U.S. But not in Colorado. | Colleen Long and Christina A. Cassidy/The Associated Press
If the FBI discovers that foreign hackers have infiltrated the networks of your county election office, you may not find out about it until after voting is over. And your governor and other state officials may be kept in the dark, too. There’s no federal law compelling state and local governments to share information when an electoral system is hacked. And a federal policy keeps details secret by shielding the identity of all cyber victims regardless of whether election systems are involved. Election officials are in a difficult spot: If someone else’s voting system is targeted, they want to know exactly what happened so they can protect their own system. Yet when their own systems are targeted, they may be cautious about disclosing details. They must balance the need for openness with worries over undermining any criminal investigation. And they want to avoid chaos or confusion, the kind of disruption that hackers want. The secrecy surrounding foreign hacks is not a hypothetical issue. The public still doesn’t know which Florida counties were breached by Russian agents in the 2016 election. Rick Scott, Florida’s governor in 2016 and now a U.S. senator, was not told at the time and didn’t learn most of the details until this year. And the threat to electoral systems is real. Federal officials believe Russian agents in 2016 searched for vulnerabilities within election systems in all 50 states. And the nation’s intelligence chiefs warn that Russia and other nations remain interested in interfering in U.S. elections.Full Article: The public, election officials may be kept in the dark on hacks around the U.S. But not in Colorado. – The Colorado Sun.
Colorado: Secretary of State’s QR code election security measure adopted | Teresa L. Benns/Del Norte Prospector
According to a Sept. 16 news release on the Colorado Secretary of State’s (SoS) website, Secretary of State Jena Griswold announced that Colorado will stop using ballots with QR codes, a marking used to track packages and other materials pictured above. The removal of QR codes from ballots will increase the security of vote tabulation and ensure voters can accurately verify that their ballots are correctly marked. With foreign countries actively trying to exploit voting vulnerabilities, this is a first-in-the nation added security measure. Marilyn Marks, who advocates for voting integrity nationwide, came to Saguache County in 2011 to investigate the irregular county election held in 2010. During that time, she also monitored an election held in Chaffee County where the QR code question was first raised. “Chaffee ballots are identifiable by both the voter and the government,” Marks said in an Aug. 9, 2012 Center Post-Dispatch article. (QR) codes on the ballot can be traced back to the voter in what Marks says is a very sophisticated process that could not have been detected by most voters or watchers.Full Article: Del Norte Prospector | SoS QR code election security measure adopted.
Colorado: Colorado the First State to Remove Bar Codes from Ballots | Andrew Westrope/Government Technology
Since learning the scope of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, state and federal officials have been vocal about the need to secure America’s next elections. For many jurisdictions, that might mean less technology rather than more, and resisting pressure from voting-tech vendors to buy expensive solutions where pen and paper is more secure. This week, Colorado took the lead as the first state to require all ballots to be tabulated using only the marked ovals, as opposed to QR (quick response) codes, or bar codes in which the voter’s choices are encoded. According to a news release from Secretary of State Jena Griswold, the use of ballot-marking devices had created a situation in which votes tabulated by QR codes could not be verified by the human eye. Serena Woods, a spokeswoman for Griswold’s office, explained that while Colorado’s in-person voters would get a printed out summary of their choices, they couldn’t verify that the QR code accurately reflected those. While there had been no specific incidents of QR codes being tampered with, Woods said, a nefarious actor could theoretically program a tabulation machine to misread QR codes, or reprogram ballot-marking devices to print inaccurate codes.Full Article: Colorado the First State to Remove Bar Codes from Ballots.
The city of Denver will allow thousands of voters to cast their ballots with a smartphone application this year. The pilot program is one of the first U.S. deployments of a phone-based voting system for public elections — but it will only be available to military members and voters living in other countries. The city has invited all of its international voters — about 4,000 people — to use the app in the May 2019 election. The idea of digital voting has been met with skepticism from some elections security experts, but Denver officials say it could make life easier for a limited set of voters. “This pilot enables us to offer that convenience for our military and overseas citizens who have the most difficult time voting and participating in the democratic process here at home,” said Deputy Elections Director Jocelyn Bucaro.Full Article: Smartphone voting coming to Denver in May election.
Following Donald Trump’s 2016 victory over an opponent who won 3 million more votes, Colorado’s Democrat-controlled Legislature is fast-tracking legislation to join other states in picking the president based on the national popular vote. The House State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee sent the bill to the full House on a 6-3 party line vote late Tuesday. Republicans fiercely oppose the bill , which has cleared Colorado’s Senate. They argue it subverts an Electoral College that the Founding Fathers created to ensure smaller states don’t get trampled when it comes to choosing the president. Colorado would join 11 states and the District of Columbia in the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. The campaign was launched after Democrat Al Gore lost the 2000 election to Republican George W. Bush despite winning more votes.Full Article: Colorado Democrats push changes to presidential electors | Myrtle Beach Sun News.
Colorado: How Colorado voting became a cybersecurity leader long before Russians tried to hack it | TechRepublic
Colorado was one of 21 states targeted by Russian operatives during the 2016 election. But unlike many others, the state has spent years implementing top-tier cybersecurity measures and audits to prevent hackers from entering its systems and interfering with the election process. Colorado receives top marks in the three most important election security categories, according to a February report from the left-leaning Center for American Progress comparing the election security of all 50 states:
Adhering to minimum cybersecurity standards for voter registration systems
Carrying out elections with paper ballots
Conducting robust post-election audits
… In 2017, Colorado became the first state to carry out mandatory risk-limiting post-election audits, which are widely considered the gold standard, according to the Center for American Progress. Risk-limiting audits involve manually checking a sample of ballots, and providing statistical evidence that the election outcome is correct. They have a high probability of correcting a wrong outcome, according to the US Election Assistance Commission. A risk-limiting audit could lead to a full manual recount if there is not enough evidence to prove that the reported outcome is correct, the commission stated.Full Article: How Colorado voting became a cybersecurity leader long before Russians tried to hack it - TechRepublic.
Colorado: 61,000 Adams County voters are still missing ballots (and other voting problems around Colorado) | The Colorado Sun
A quarter of voters in Adams County — a key 2018 battleground in Colorado — have yet to receive their ballots because one of four trucks carrying them to be mailed didn’t make it to a postal processing center last week. About 61,000 Adams County ballots — mostly for residents in Thornton, Brighton and Aurora — had yet to be sent as of Tuesday afternoon. “We’re waiting on the truck to pull up,” U.S. Postal Service spokesman David Rupert said. Julie Jackson, spokeswoman for Adams County Clerk and Recorder Stan Martin, said it was unclear why the ballots on the truck weren’t unloaded and ended up being returned to a secure location. She said the office is still investigating to find out what happened.Full Article: 61,000 Adams County voters are still missing ballots (and other voting problems around Colorado) – The Colorado Sun.
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.Full Article: A Safe Place for Elections - State of Elections.
Colorado: Election prep summit included topics like cybersecurity threats and fake news | TheDenverChannel
It’s being billed as war games, election style. National leaders in cybersecurity, including the Secretary of Homeland Security, were in Colorado Thursday night to learn how to protect our ballots from bad actors. Colorado’s Republican Secretary of State, Wayne Williams, hosted election officials from all over the state to prepare for the November elections. A battleground state, Colorado elections can come down to a few votes, which is why protecting the integrity of every one of them is of utmost importance. “Every vote is important. We want to make sure that voters know their votes matters, and it’s going to be counted right,” said Williams.Full Article: Colorado-based election prep summit included topics like cybersecurity threats and fake news - Denver7 TheDenverChannel.com.
Montrose County will not be paying more than $23,000 in costs to the print vendor whose errors triggered a hand-count and delayed by a week primary election results, including those in a tight sheriff’s race. Print vendor Integrated Voting Systems, also known as Integrated Voting Solutions, made “numerous mistakes” in printing the ballots, as well as in stuffing envelopes and mailing them, which caused “significant and irreparable damage” to the primary election here, according to a settlement agreement the Montrose County Clerk and Recorder’s Office and IVS representatives inked on Tuesday. Under the agreement, the county is only paying about $3,400 in postage costs, which settles an entire bill that would have exceeded $26,000.Full Article: Agreement reached over botched barcoding | Local News Stories | montrosepress.com.
Colorado: Nearly 7,000 unaffiliated Colorado voters nullified their primary votes by turning in ballots for both parties | Associated Press
One in 42 unaffiliated voters who tried to participate in Colorado’s first-ever open primaries flubbed it by submitting both Democratic and Republican ballots — ensuring neither was counted. But state election officials, who released numbers Friday, consider the lower-than-expected 2.4 percent ballot rejection rate a success for the inaugural run of the new law in the June 26 primary elections. A total of 293,153 unaffiliated voters returned mail ballots across the state, and 6,914 of those envelopes contained completed ballots for both parties, resulting in their nullification. Backers of Initiative 108, which Colorado voters approved in 2016 to open primaries to unaffiliated voters, praised the outcome in a news release. But they and election officials also said they’d work to lower the rejection rate in future primary elections.Full Article: Nearly 7,000 unaffiliated Colorado voters nullified their primary votes by turning in ballots for both parties.
Colorado: Ballot printing company for Montrose County in hot water elsewhere | Grand Junction Sentinel
The company that inaccurately printed 25,000 ballots for Montrose County’s primary election has been suspended from conducting business in California for unpaid taxes and is also delinquent in filing required paperwork with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office. Integrated Voting Solutions, based in California, owes that state almost $5,000 in unpaid taxes and was suspended from legally transacting business in the state in June 2017. According to records from California’s Franchise Tax Board, which collects state personal income and corporate income taxes, IVS cannot defend itself in court or maintain the right to use its name for business purposes in California until it pays the taxes and is no longer suspended. The company also faces a $2,000 penalty per tax year for failing to file its tax returns, according to the tax board. IVS remains on the California secretary of state’s list of approved ballot vendors issued in January, despite the suspension. It initially registered with the state in 2004.Full Article: Ballot printer for Montrose County in hot water elsewhere | Western Colorado | gjsentinel.com.
Colorado: State’s 1 million-plus unaffiliated voters can participate for the first time in a primary election | The Denver Post
Colorado’s county clerks are gearing up to send out a record number of primary election ballots this week as the state’s unaffiliated voters — the largest voting bloc — get their first-ever chance to vote in a primary contest. But with that new opportunity for the more than 1.1 million active voters not tied to a political party — thanks to the 2016 passage of Proposition 108 — comes some new processes. And if they’re not careful, unaffiliated voters’ newfound ability to vote in a primary might not count.Full Article: How unaffiliated voters in Colorado can vote in the 2018 primary.
Colorado’s Democratic governor has thrown his weight behind two statewide ballot measures that, if passed by voters in November, would change how political lines are drawn for state legislative and congressional seats and give unaffiliated voters more of a voice in the process. “This is normally a full-contact sport,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said on May 16, a reference to Colorado’s partisan battles over redistricting in past decades that have left Republicans and Democrats embittered about how the legislative maps are created. The same might also have been said about initial proposals to change the way Colorado draws its political maps, which began with crossed swords and ended in a handshake.Full Article: Colorado voters will decide how the state draws political lines | Local News | Colorado Springs Independent.
Colorado voters this November will be asked to vote on two ballot measures that would overhaul the state’s redistricting process and seek to prevent partisan gerrymandering. Supporters say the measures could serve as a national model at a time when gerrymandering — the practice of drawing political district boundaries to favor a particular party at the ballot box — is under heightened scrutiny across the country. Top lawmakers on Wednesday signed the referred measures in an afternoon ceremony, just more than a week after they passed both chambers unanimously. Kent Thiry, a political independent who previously backed successful campaigns to open state primaries to unaffiliated voters, called the proposed reforms “a big step towards protecting one of the crown jewels of any state, which is the fairness and credibility of their elections.”Full Article: Colorado lawmakers send redistricting reforms to ballot | The Seattle Times.