Media Release: Verified Voting Welcomes Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams to its Board of Advisors

Wayne Williams: “I’m excited to share my expertise so that we can continue to strengthen our nation’s election systems and voters’ confidence in those systems.” Verified Voting, a leading national organization focused solely on making our voting technology secure, welcomes Wayne Williams to its Advisory Board. Williams, while serving as Colorado Secretary of State from…

Colorado: Break It Down: Colorado’s Voting Machine Trials | 5280

The race to the 2016 presidential primary is heating up, but on a state level, Colorado voters have a pressing political deadline. On Tuesday, an estimated 40 percent of Colorado’s registered voters will head to the polls, according to Jerome Lovato, voting systems specialist for the state of Colorado. But this year, voters will also have a hand in deciding the future of Colorado’s elections by helping test new voting machines. The upcoming elections are a trial period for four different vote-counting machines, each of which will be tested in both a large Front Range county, as well as a smaller rural county. The test counties include Adams, Denver, Douglas, Garfield, Gilpin, Jefferson, Mesa, and Teller. Secretary of State Wayne Williams plans to authorize one of these machines for use in future elections statewide, starting in 2016. The winning machine will be chosen for its security, usability, accuracy, and user feedback, among other criteria, according to Lovato. By streamlining Colorado votes on one system, the department hopes to start moving away from the current, outdated mix of direct-record electronic voting machines—a process that’s long overdue. So what do you need to know about our current (and upcoming) voting systems before heading to the polls? Read on to find out why Colorado’s antiquated voting system is in desperate need of an upgrade.

Colorado: County clerks worry about mail-ballot delays, urge voters to use dropoff boxes | The Gazette

Delays by the U.S. Postal Service trapped some El Paso County election ballots in a cycle between Denver and Colorado Springs this month, with some ballots reaching voters days after they were sent. Issues with barcoding delayed roughly 10,000 ballots statewide, and prompted Secretary of State Wayne Williams on Tuesday to issue a plea to voters to not drop their mail-in ballots in a Postal Service box, less they get lost in a similar cycle. The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s Office joined the state by instructing voters to bring their ballots straight to the ballot box to make sure they get counted. But a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service said on Tuesday that voters should have no concerns about dropping their completed ballots in the mail. Spokesman David Rupert said that the delays were minor, and ultimately millions of ballots were delivered on time – a statistic that bodes well for return ballots, he added.

Colorado: In move to upgrade all machines statewide, new voting machines will be tested next month | Associated Press

Amid national anxiety about aging voting machines, Colorado elections officials are testing four types of new machines in elections next month as they move toward upgrades statewide. The Secretary of State plans to certify one new voting machine next year, putting the state on track to move away from a patchwork of voting machines to a single system. “Much of our equipment in Colorado is old,” Wayne Williams said Monday. “A lot of our systems are so old that they’re based on Microsoft systems that Microsoft no longer supports.” Next month’s off-year election is being used a test run for four different types of machines. Each will be used in a large Front Range county and a smaller rural county. The test counties are Adams, Denver, Douglas, Garfield, Gilpin, Jefferson, Mesa and Teller. The upgrades to newer machines will cost about $10 million to $15 million, with counties picking up the tab. A voting machine will be chosen by 2016, with counties free to upgrade whenever they’re ready.

Colorado: Jefferson County recall ballot timeline draws concerns from Colorado Secretary of State | The Denver Post

Colorado’s secretary of state has concerns about how Jefferson County will pull off having a recall election on the regular November election ballot. After Jefferson County Clerk Faye Griffin announced Thursday that the recall of three school board members would be placed on the general election ballot Nov. 3, Secretary of State Wayne Williams sent a letter asking for more details. “Your limited window for setting the recall election date presents challenges no matter which date you choose,” Williams wrote. “Because of this timeline you will need near-optimal circumstances to place both recall and coordinated content on the same ballot and meet the ballot-mailing deadline for the coordinated election.”

Editorials: Internet voting a needless threat to voter privacy, election security | David Schultheis/The Colorado Statesman

Colorado is poised to reject the best advice of the Department of Defense, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Vote Foundation and almost every nationally known expert as the state expands Internet voting. Although voters read daily headlines of breaches of government and commercial computer systems and emails, Colorado’s email balloting expansion ignores the experts and defies common sense and lawmakers’ directives. Yet Secretary of State Wayne Williams seems determined to use Colorado voters as guinea pigs who will learn what the experts already know — Internet voting is a needless threat to voter privacy and election security. Williams received input from legislators, experts, political parties, non-profit organizations and many individual voters. Feedback has been almost universally negative, except for the Colorado Democratic Party and the Colorado Clerks Association. Scores of voters and organizations, including the Colorado Republican Party, Common Cause, Verified Voting, and the Colorado Voter Group oppose the expansion. Yet proposed Colorado rules will likely permit the expansion of Internet voting for military voters, overseas civilians and military families, regardless of their location or access to mail ballots or polling places. Skiers at Whistler, Air Force Academy professors’ kids at a coffee shop, and officers at the Pentagon could vote over the Internet if they conclude postal mail ballot delivery “is not certain.”

Colorado: The high risk of e-voting | The Denver Post

If we can bank and shop online, why can’t we also vote online? This once-common refrain — I certainly used to ask the question — has been answered in recent years by revelations that hackers have penetrated some of our largest financial institutions, retailers, entertainment studios and, of course, the federal government. We can do our banking and shopping online because, as Lawrence Livermore computer scientist David Jefferson said earlier this year, “Financial losses in e-commerce can be insured or absorbed, but no such amelioration is possible in an election. And, of course, the stakes are generally much higher in a public election than in an e-commerce system.” Jefferson’s view that online voting — and especially e-mail — is extremely vulnerable to being hacked, intercepted or manipulated is shared by many experts, including those at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

Colorado: Wayne Williams a contrast to former Secretary of State | The Colorado Statesman

Three months after being sworn in, Secretary of State Wayne Williams has mostly stayed out of the news, and that’s the way he likes it. It’s a marked contrast from Williams’s predecessor, fellow Republican Scott Gessler, an election law attorney who embraced the nickname “honey badger,” a varmint known for the relentlessness of its attack. Where Gessler seemingly courted controversy — and was the target of one complaint after another from Democrats — Williams is taking a more conciliatory approach, working closely with county clerks across the state and stressing his office’s mission providing services to voters, businesses and nonprofit groups. “The role, once you’re in there, isn’t about which party you’re in, it’s how you serve the citizens,” Williams said in an interview with The Colorado Statesman. “There are some things I might do differently than another individual, but I try to work very hard to make sure this government office operates the way we would if we were trying to attract customers.”