COLUMN: Use authorized methods to problem elections | Opinion


County clerks just lately gathered from throughout the state in Colorado Springs. As an at-large member of Colorado Springs Metropolis Council, I used to be honored our metropolis might host these key protectors of our sacred proper to vote. Guaranteeing truthful elections has all the time been difficult, however right now we face new difficulties.

I’m a lifelong Republican, however in 2016 I labored laborious to verify Democrat Hillary Clinton obtained all 9 of Colorado’s electoral faculty votes.

You would possibly keep in mind that some Democrats who have been to forged their electoral faculty votes didn’t need to again Clinton, however one other candidate who might need the possibility of toppling the winner of the presidential election, Republican Donald Trump.

As Colorado’s secretary of state, my job was to observe our regulation, which granted our electoral faculty votes to Hillary Clinton, the candidate who gained Colorado’s well-liked vote.

Two years later, I misplaced my bid to serve one other 4 years as Colorado’s secretary of state. I didn’t problem that election as a result of I do know our course of is protected and safe and I belief the individuals who run elections, our county clerks. I served because the El Paso County clerk and recorder earlier than defeating Democrat Joe Neguse in 2014 within the race for secretary of state.

However had I wished to problem the 2018 consequence, there have been authorized channels I might have adopted. I might have paid for a recount, for instance, or introduced a court docket motion. However authorized methods to problem an election don’t embrace violating Colorado legal guidelines for electors, vandalism, or threats of violence and definitely don’t embrace storming the U.S. Capitol. Additionally they don’t embrace sharing privileged details about Colorado’s paper poll tabulation programs thereby eradicating the safety precautions that defend our proper to vote.

However I didn’t problem the 2018 election as a result of I do know that Colorado’s paper poll system is correct. For 3 years, a committee studied what to do about Colorado’s growing old and out of date election gear – gear that in lots of instances relied on digital ballots quite than paper ones. After pilot packages involving 4 firms and eight counties, the committee in 2015 chosen a paper poll tabulation system produced by Dominion Voting Techniques because the best choice. I then established rigorous requirements for paper poll tabulation — requirements that exceeded these established nationally. First Dominion, and later Clear Poll, are the one firms who’ve met these requirements.

Because of choices by county clerks and commissioners, each county in Colorado now makes use of one of many two paper poll programs. Paper ballots allow each election to be verified and be certain that nobody should depend on a machine tabulation.

To make sure that these machine tabulations are correct, in 2017 I established necessities for a forensic risk-limiting audit previous to certifying any election. Colorado was the primary state within the nation to require this forensic audit which makes use of bipartisan groups to check the precise paper ballots to the machine tabulation in each county. In each election, in each county, that audit has been handed.

And as county clerk and secretary of state, I cleaned up voting lists, together with verifying citizenship, and initiated prosecutions for individuals who cheated.

Generally there will likely be election outcomes we don’t like, however finally the paper poll processes we adopted in Colorado work. And in these uncommon instances the place it doesn’t, there are applicable methods to problem it.

So, let’s proceed to work to make elections higher, and let’s rejoice the laborious work executed by Colorado’s county clerks and our bipartisan election employees who make the election — in addition to authorized challenges to it — attainable.

Former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams was elected to the Colorado Springs Metropolis Council At-Giant in 2019.

Former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams was elected to the Colorado Springs Metropolis Council At-Giant in 2019.

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