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Counties audit primary election results

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Posted at 6:09 PM, Jul 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-10 20:30:20-04

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — County election offices around Colorado auditing the results of the June 30 primary election. It's one of the many requirements in state law to protect the integrity of mail-in elections.

In Colorado Springs, the more than 170,000 ballots turned in by El Paso County voters a carefully organized in cardboard boxes and stored in a secured room in the Clerk and Recorder's Office.

County employees will pull a random sample of ballots, chosen via computer algorithm, and hand-check the paper ballot against the electronic records from election night.

Observers from both the Democratic and Republican parties witness the results. The goal is for the votes to match at least 95 percent of the time. When the results don't match, Broerman said it's usually the result of human error.

"The machine matches, the paper matches. What happens is that someone pulled the wrong ballot out of the stack. It's the human error side of things," he explained.

The counting machines are also tested by the Federal Elections Commission. They run millions of simulated results and Broerman said they perform accurately beyond federal requirements.

Colorado's all-mail voting system is viewed as the gold standard for election accessibility nationwide. However, when other states considered switching to an all-mail ballot election this past Spring over coronavirus concerns, President Donald Trump voiced skepticism.

"Mail-in ballots are dangerous, there's tremendous fraud involved and tremendous illegality," he told reporters on May 20.

Broerman points out Colorado made changes to its election system for more than a decade, and that other states shouldn't expect to copy it overnight.

"There's a lot of logistical challenges to getting there," he said. "I think it's important that states work to get there, but it's going to be a challenge to get there and to make sure they that they do it a proper way, that the citizens' voices will be heard this November."

He said voters here should have confidence in the accuracy of the results.