Colorado election system safe from interference, secretary of state says

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DENVER — Leaders of six U.S. intelligence agencies shared the unanimous warning Tuesday that Russia is targeting the 2018 elections.

They also testified in front of members of Congress that they stand by last year’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

“Nobody penetrated any Colorado system. Whether a voter registration system or the voting system,” Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams said.

The primaries for the midterm elections in Colorado are four months away and Williams says his office will be ready.

“Colorado has processes in place to both protect the system and to provide that assurance after the election,” he said.

He pointed to a recent report released by the Center for American Progress that analyzed states’ voter security. Colorado scored a “B.”

Williams said it’s an ongoing battle to protect the election system in Colorado from Russian hackers or any other cyberintrusion.

On Election Day, Williams brings in members of the National Guard to help with cyberprotection. He also said the system itself is designed to block access to hackers.

“Our tabulation systems, our ballot marking systems, are not allowed to be connected to the internet. So, there’s no way to hack it from the outside,” Williams said.

He also stands behind the office’s new risk limiting audits.

“We took the cast vote records of every machine and compared it to the actual paper ballots to make sure that nothing took place between the time the voter casted the ballot, and when it was interpreted by the machine, scanned by the machine, and then tabulated,” Williams said.

He said this will be done after every election. The most recent audit for the November election showed successful results. Williams said every county passed the audit.

He also said his office is constantly working with the Department of Homeland Security. Representatives with DHS will be in Denver next week to review Colorado’s election process.

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