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Secretary of State, Wayne Williams, congratulated Colorado County Clerks’ for this well-deserved national recognition and for their hard work to improve, modernize and better protect the integrity and accuracy of Colorado’s elections.
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.
Although there’s no evidence that votes were altered in 2016, the stakes are high.
The Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia’s interference, released a report affirming that states should be the main entities running elections. But lawmakers are still concerned about potential vulnerabilities in election infrastructure.
Although more than half of all states require post-election auditing, only Colorado, Rhode Island and New Mexico use risk-limiting audits.
“Colorado is certainly hitting all the high points that we’ve been arguing others should,” said Joseph Lorenzo Hall, chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology and an expert on voting systems. “It’s hard to compare states apples-to-apples because they’re so different, but Colorado has really been a leader.”
According to Williams, the state has been proactive in other ways, too. Its county clerks, for example, use two-factor authentication to access voter registration databases, which Russian hackers targeted in 2016. And in 2017 became the first state in the country to complete a statewide risk-limiting audit.
“In Colorado, even if something happens, I don’t have to worry about it because there’s a process in place,” said Marian Schneider, president of the nonprofit organization, Verified Voting. “It’s almost like a disaster recovery plan for elections that if a disaster were to befall the vote count, we could recover from it.”