County says voting machines secure
Steamboat Springs — Routt County voters have absolutely no reason to worry about the security of their votes Nov. 7, county Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland said Thursday.
Although state officials spent Wednesday and Thursday in Denver District Court defending the security of four brands of electronic voting machines used in the state, Weinland said she has the utmost confidence in the voting system that worked without a hitch in the Aug. 8 primary.
“We have a very reliable, accurate and competent system,” Weinland said. “The system was certified at the federal level, it was certified at the state level, we tested it here, and we had the primary election. We go to great lengths to make sure it doesn’t get tampered with.”
Thirteen citizens brought the lawsuit against the state, saying officials working with the office of Secretary of State Gigi Dennis certified the voting machines without properly reviewing their reliability and security. Douglas Jones, a computer science professor at the University of Iowa, testified about risks, including hackers inserting viruses into electronic voting machines.
Hart InterCivic, one of four firms named in the lawsuit, manufactured Routt County’s 35 electronic voting machines.
Weinland previously has told the Steamboat Pilot & Today that the machines were tested numerous times before use. She emphasized Thursday that access to the machines and to the central computer that processes and stores voting information is extremely limited and has intricate security screening.
The Hart InterCivic machines allow voters to select a candidate by scrolling through a list, highlighting a choice and pushing a button. An audio headset provides assistance to the visually impaired. After completing their ballots, voters can go back to change a selection or approve a printed readout of their choices.
The printed ballots are preserved in the machine as an official record of the vote and can be used in the event of an extremely close tally or recount.
Weinland said she had not been contacted by state officials or Hart InterCivic and hinted that plaintiffs in the Denver lawsuit may have a different intent than ensuring a secure election.
“There’s a faction in America right now that wants to undermine confidence in the elections,” she said. “I really try to stay insulated from public opinion. I’m busy working on preparing for our election here in Routt County.”
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