Colorado Secretary of State: Ease Up On Voting Security

Richard Graulich/Zuma

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It appears that Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler didn’t get the memo about New York’s recent voting machine troubles. The Denver Post reports:

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office is considering changes that would relax security around electronic voting machines, making the already-vulnerable equipment more susceptible to hacking, opponents of the equipment and the draft rules said today… Richard Coolidge, public information officer for Secretary of State Scott Gessler, said the aim is to provide more guidance and clarity to county clerks, thereby creating more uniformity in how rules are applied.

“We’re trying to balance common sense, practical application with security on the other end,” Coolidge said. “We can do that without compromising any security.”

Gessler wants to end “continuous” video surveillance of voting stations, and reduce the number of tamper-proof seals that must be placed on cases holding voting machine components. He also wants to eliminate a requirement that election officials report suspicions of election machine tampering to the secretary of state. Instead, he wants to delegate that authority to county officials, at their behest.

Considering Colorado’s relatively recent voting machine snafus, you’d think Gessler would be inclined to preserve these protective measures, not break them down: In 2006, Colorado voters sued then-Secretary of State Mike Coffman to get him to decertify a number of faulty electronic voting terminals and ballot scanners, the Post reports. Those machines were recertified later, accompanied by a slate of new rules for using each type of machine and ensuring their security.

Perhaps the thinking here is to let local officials have more control over voting and save the state some money in the process. But given the potential problems that could ensue, it seems like the state could be inviting an unnecessary risk.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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