2017 Vote Was Safe And Secure, Says Secretary Of State Williams

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<p>(Hart Van Denburg/CPR News)</p>
<p>The ballot drop off station on Bannock Street in downtown Denver on Election Day 2017.</p>
Photo: Election Day 2017 Downtown Denver Drop Off
The ballot drop off station on Bannock Street in downtown Denver on Election Day 2017.

During the 2016 general election, charges and fears were sown by candidate Donald Trump that the vote in Colorado was somehow “rigged.” There was no evidence to support that claim. Secretary of State Wayne Williams said Wednesday that he believes the 2017 election was equally as secure. Below are some edited highlights from his comments.

On the small fraction of Coloradans actually voting at a polling place:

“We saw about 1.18 million Coloradans cast ballots, less than 1 percent of those did that via polling place. We had 99 percent plus who chose to return the mail ballot — a lot of them, the majority, actually used the drop boxes that we provided funding for and that counties also provided funding for. And so you see people taking advantage of that opportunity to make their voice heard and do in a way that's very convenient for delivery.”

On the importance of paper ballots:

Under new standards I adopted as secretary of state, we have an election system that has a paper ballot record of every single vote that is cast. We had a little over 30 counties that were implementing this for the first time in this election and it went very well at all of those counties. … A paper ballot record of every vote that's cast gives you enhanced security, enhanced confidence that nobody tampered with a vote because you, as a voter, can physically inspect that paper ballot. And then we audit against that paper ballot as well.”

On the National Guard presence at the Secretary of State’s office:

“For the presidential election 2016, for the 2017, we've partnered with Homeland Security, with the National Guard, to have additional resources available in the event of a cyber attack… the National Guard is trained to address a whole host of areas. They don't just step in the event of forest fires or floods, they also deal with cyber attack issues. So we had them here because we want to have every resource we can to protect Colorado's voters.”

On conducting what's called risk-limiting audits on election results:

“Colorado has always reviewed the election afterwards and compared stacks of ballots to particular outcomes. But for the first time we're going to pull specific ballots and look at how the machines tabulated that specific ballot to ensure that everything was done accurately. … Colorado is first to implement that on a statewide basis. We have folks coming from other states to watch our process; we actually have all three of the election assistant commissioners appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, all three of them are going to be here to observe the process and watch what's going on. So it is something that's attracted national attention, because of the recognition the Colorado's leading the way in election security.”