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Hackers beware: Colorado’s clerks will be watching — and auditing — election results

Author: Dan Njegomir - July 19, 2017 - Updated: July 19, 2017

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iStock image / Blablo101

Denverite’s Adrian Garcia reports this week that Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams is touting post-election audits as a new, enhanced safeguard against election manipulation in Colorado:

The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office has been traveling to different counties this year to train clerks how to conduct the audit, office spokeswoman Lynn Bartels said Monday. … Williams told Politico in a statement Monday that the audit will allow Colorado to say, “with a high level of statistical probability that has never existed before,” that official election results have not been manipulated.

If the audit process is implemented successfully, Politico reports, Colorado would be the first state to “regularly conduct a sophisticated post-election audit that cybersecurity experts have long called necessary.”

All of which has become a supercharged political issue — and notice the curious cross-currents at which a Republican like Williams finds himself. Election manipulation, long an obsession of the Republican right, has become a newfound target of Democrats amid persistent allegations Russia’s government attempted to meddle in last November’s presidential election to undermine Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton (remember her?).

At the same time, Republican President Donald Trump maintains that purportedly massive voter fraud — by undocumented immigrants, some would allege — cost him the popular vote even as he won the Electoral College. Hence, his controversial Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, which has rankled Democrats by requesting voter information from Colorado and other states.

Which, if we may crack wise, means Wayne Williams has to be on the watch for Russian hackers trying to hijack the electoral vote for Republicans as well as for immigrants attempting to pump up the popular vote for Democrats. Give the guy a raise!

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir is the opinion editor for Colorado Politics. A longtime journalist and more-than-25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene, Njegomir has been an award-winning newspaper reporter, an editorial page editor, a senior legislative staffer at the State Capitol and a political consultant.