Colorado

Articles about voting issues in Colorado.

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.

Colorado: Denver Offers Blockchain Voting to Military, Overseas Voters | The Denver Post

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.

Colorado: Democrats push changes to presidential electors | Associated Press

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: A Safe Place for Elections | State of Elections

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.

Colorado: Agreement reached over botched barcoding in Montrose County | Montrose Press

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: Voters will decide how the state draws political lines | Colorado Springs Independent

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: Lawmakers send redistricting reforms to ballot | Associated Press

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.

Colorado: How Colorado became the safest state to cast a vote | The Washington Post

As local officials across the country scramble to hack-proof their voting systems ahead of the midterm elections, there’s one state that is paving the way as a leader in election security. Colorado has done virtually everything election experts recommend states do to stave off a repeat of 2016, when Russian hackers targeted 21 states as part of the Russian government’s massive election interference campaign. The state records every vote on a paper ballot. It conducts rigorous post-election audits favored by voting researchers. Nearly every county is equipped with up-to-date voting machines. Election officials take part in security trainings and IT workers test computer networks for weaknesses. Secretary of State Wayne Williams told me the state benefited from having some of those measures in place before 2016. Once the extent of Russia’s digital campaign in the presidential election became clear, he made it a priority to invest more in them, he said. “If people perceive a risk, they’re less likely to participate in voting,” Williams said. “We want to protect people from that threat, and we want to people to perceive that they are protected from that threat.”

Full Article: The Cybersecurity 202: How Colorado became the safest state to cast a vote - The Washington Post.

Colorado: Anti-Gerrymandering Effort Sails Through The Colorado Capitol On Its Way To The Ballot | CPR

In an otherwise divisive close to the 2018 legislative session, Colorado lawmakers have found broad agreement on at least one issue. They want out of the redistricting business. A bipartisan reform effort is flying through the assembly to ask voters to overhaul how the state decides legislative and congressional boundaries. The package would also outlaw gerrymandering in the state constitution and give new power to unaffiliated voters. The plan has already won unanimous approval in the state Senate and in two House committees. If it passes the full House, as expected, two initiatives would be added to this November’s statewide ballot.

Full Article: Anti-Gerrymandering Effort Sails Through The Colorado Capitol On Its Way To The Ballot | CPR.

Colorado: Bill Aims to Register 10,000 Parolees to Vote | Courthouse News

A Colorado bill encouraging 10,000 parolees to vote passed the House Committee on State, Veterans and Military Affairs on Thursday. The Voter Registration Individuals Criminal Justice Act, which passed with a 4-3 vote and had bi-partisan sponsorship, would pre-register parolees so they would automatically be able to vote upon completion of their sentences. Parole officers would inform the parolees of their voting rights and put to rest an urban myth that prior offenders can’t participate in state elections. Bill sponsor, Representative Pete Lee, D-Colorado Springs, told the committee that he regularly encounters people while campaigning door-to-door who wrongly believe prior felony convictions prevent them from voting. A proponent of restorative justice, Lee has described the United States as “the Incarceration Nation.”

Full Article: Colorado Bill Aims to Register 10,000 Parolees to Vote.

Colorado: A federal judge dismissed the ‘Hamilton Elector’ lawsuit in Colorado. But that’s what they wanted. | The Colorado Independent

A federal judge in Colorado on Tuesday dismissed a case its plaintiffs hope will eventually bring more clarity to how members of the Electoral College should vote in presidential elections. And a dismissal is actually just what the plaintiffs wanted. They expect an appeal could bring their case before the nation’s highest court. At issue is a lawsuit by three members of the 2016 class of Colorado’s Electoral College who argued that Colorado GOP Secretary of State Wayne Williams violated their constitutional rights by forcing them to officially cast their national electoral ballots for the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, in the 2016 presidential election. U.S. District Court Senior Judge Wiley Daniel dismissed the case— and in doing so, helped get the legal question potentially further up the legal chain on an appeal and perhaps, eventually, before the United States Supreme Court, which is what the plaintiffs ultimately want. 

Full Article: A federal judge dismissed the ‘Hamilton Elector’ lawsuit in Colorado. But that’s what they wanted. | The Colorado Independent.

Colorado: Department of Homeland Security Testing Colorado’s Election Systems With Operation Cyber Storm | Westword

Colorado’s election systems have been under attack by cyber intruders. Networks are being poked and prodded in an attempt to bypass security measures, access control systems and manipulate or extract data. Don’t worry, though: The attacks are not real. Rather, they are simulations part of “Cyber Storm,” the nation’s largest cybersecurity exercise, overseen by the Department of Homeland Security. Colorado is one of seven states participating in the exercise, along with nearly 1,000 other “players” across the nation that range from law enforcement agencies to transportation and manufacturing networks. According to DHS, the exercises are the sixth iteration of Operation Cyber Storm, and the simulated cyber attacks are meant to expose cyber vulnerabilities and test network administrators’ preparedness, security measures and responses.

Full Article: Department of Homeland Security Testing Colorado's Election Systems With Operation Cyber Storm | Westword.

Colorado: Federal judge tosses “faithless” presidential elector lawsuit against Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams | The Denver Post

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit from three Democratic presidential electors against Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams alleging that Williams violated their constitutional rights during the highly contentious 2016 Electoral College vote. The trio contended that Williams acted unlawfully by not allowing them to vote their conscience instead of on behalf of Colorado voters when casting their presidential votes. But U.S. District Court Senior Judge Wiley Y. Daniel rejected that premise, saying they were requesting he “strike down Colorado’s elector statute that codifies the historical understanding and long-standing practice of binding electors to the people’s vote, and to sanction a new system that would render the people’s vote merely advisory.”

Full Article: Federal judge tosses “faithless” presidential elector lawsuit against Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams – The Denver Post.