SOUTHERN COLORADO — On Monday, Colorado's Secretary of State Jena Griswold hosted a conversation to raise awareness about the risk of foreign interference spreading disinformation during the days surrounding the election.
Griswold said Colorado is considered the safest state to cast a ballot. She said that's because the state uses a voter verified paper ballot, no voting equipment is connected to the internet, and there are post-election risk limiting audits conducted. "We do, however, face foreign adversaries who are trying to undermine confidence in the electoral process," said Griswold.
In 2016, a Senate Intelligence Committee report on Russian interference said they targeted African-American voters. "By far, race and related issues were the preferred target of the information warfare campaign designed to divide the country in 2016," said Griswold.
Griswold pointed to three different layers of warnings given about this potential foreign interference.
- Foreign actors may try to undermine confidence in the results by spreading disinformation about the hacking or leaking of voter registration data, creating websites to post fake election results, and altering existing legitimate websites with false information.
- In the past two weeks, the FBI and DHS have issued statements indicating Russia and Iran are interfering in the election. Griswold said federal partners tell her Colorado was not affected, and there is no reason to believe it hurt other state's abilities to conduct fair elections.
- The cyber department said last week that the coming days are prime targets for disinformation campaigns and cyber operations (website defacements, temporary disruptions to online systems). Griswold said to be aware, but stay calm.
Griswold said the state has a handful of strategies instituted to prepare for this potential interference. One example of that is the Rapid Response Election Security Cyber Unit (RESCU), which combats disinformation and cyber threats.
"The good news is we know what may happen, so we can counter it together... Opinions are fun when it comes to elections, but facts are so much better," said Griswold.
Shortly after 7:00 p.m. on election night, initial Colorado results will start being pushed. "We do expect 70-80% of all the votes to be able to be reported on election night... election night results are never final results," said Griswold.
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