Colorado to be first state doing check cybersecurity pros say everyone should do

Election clerks across Colorado are getting ready to start auditing statewide and countywide election results to ensure hackers and other threats are screwing with votes.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams addresses the press on July 5, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

secretary of state; wayne williams; denver; colorado; copolitics; kevinjbeaty; denverite;
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams addresses the press on July 5, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) secretary of state; wayne williams; denver; colorado; copolitics; kevinjbeaty; denverite;
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams addresses the press on July 5, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Election clerks across Colorado are getting ready to start auditing statewide and countywide election results to ensure hackers and other threats are not screwing with votes.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office has been traveling to different counties this year to train clerks how to conduct the audit, office spokeswoman Lynn Bartels said Monday. Secretary of State Wayne Williams told Politico in a statement Monday that 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.

If the audit process is implemented successfully, Politico reports, Colorado would be the first state to “regularly conduct a sophisticated post-election audit that cybersecurity experts have long called necessary.”

The first audits are expected to occur immediately following the coordinated elections in November, said Dwight Shellman, manager of country regulation and support for the Secretary of State’s Office.

The Secretary of State’s Office has been talking about its “risk-limit” auditing for several months. The topic became actually of interest this week after Williams sent a letter Friday to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity providing support to his claim that “elections are working well in Colorado.” The commission convened by President Donald Trump is charged with investigating the baseless claim that between 3 million and 5 million people voted illegally in the 2016 election.

Risk-limiting audits allows officials to double-check a sample of paper ballots against digital tallies to determine whether results were tabulated correctly, according to Politico.

“Colorado enacted the audit requirement in 2009 but delayed its implementation to allow counties to test different methods. Beginning in November, according to a rule still being drafted, Williams’ office will select at least one statewide and one countywide race for each county to audit,” Politico reports.

This article may be updated with more information.

Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.

Subscribe to Denverite’s newsletter here.

Adrian D. Garcia

Author: Adrian D. Garcia

Adrian D. Garcia is on business and trends for Denverite, serves as treasurer for the Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and on the board of the Denver Press Club. He can be reached at agarcia@denverite.com.