Colorado praised for election security

From left to right, Eric Rosenbach, co-head of the Belfer Center at Harvard, Lisa Monaco, former Homeland Security adviser to President Obama, and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, discuss election security at an event earlier this month. (William and Flora Hewlett Foundation photo)

Secretary of State Wayne Williams and his operation were praised during a recent cybersecurity initiative in Northern California, one of a series of cybersecurity events the Colorado SOS has been invited to participate in.

Eric Rosenbach, co-head of the Belfer Center at Harvard, moderated a discussion on election security between Secretary Williams and Lisa Monaco, who served as the Homeland Security adviser to President Obama.

“Your team in Colorado is very good, essentially recognized as one of the best in the nation,” Rosenbach told Williams.

Monaco agreed.

The event was put on by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, a “nonpartisan, private charitable foundation that advances ideas and supports institutions to promote a better world,” according to their website.

Secretary Williams talked about how people often confuse Colorado’s voter registration and voting system.

“The registration system is a database. That database is like every database, available and accessible to people that try to make changes to,” Williams said. “The election consists of ballots and the interpretation of those ballots.”

He highlighted the standards that have been put in place in Colorado to ensure the integrity of elections. The nation’s first-ever risk-limiting audit, a process designed to catch mistakes when ballots are tabulated, was completed in Colorado last November. The voting systems are not connected to the internet and they also print an actual paper ballot for each vote tabulated so it would be difficult way to hack an election.

The Colorado National Guard is present is at the Secretary of State’ office on election day in case any problems arise to help resolve any possible situation.

“We want to make sure that people know that their votes are going to be counted and counted accurately because if they don’t believe that they are less likely to participate in our democracy,” Williams said. “What we do have to have is the belief that those results are legitimate. Without that, the whole underpinning of this democratic republic in which we live goes away.”

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