Clerk’s Corner: Security against tampering with ballots |

Clerk’s Corner: Security against tampering with ballots

Lila Herod, Moffat County Clerk and Recorder/For the Saturday Morning Press

Who doesn’t love Maxine? She’s the entertaining cartoon caricature of a scrawny, cranky old woman who has become popular for her famous one-line jokes. One of my favorite Maxine one-liners is when she quipped, “Elections are held in November because it’s the best time for picking out a turkey.”

It’s finally time for you to choose your turkeys! Election Day is Nov. 8, which means you have less than two weeks to make your voice heard! At this point, you need to hand deliver your ballot or vote in person at the County Clerk & Recorder’s Office.

Since the last presidential election, there are surely voters who question the integrity of the election process. Allegations of potential voter fraud have already been sensationalized in the news. When voters hear claims that the voting process is flawed and subject to possible fraud, even when the accusations are untrue, their confidence in the system is undermined. However, in reality, voter fraud is extremely rare. Colorado has many checks and balances in order to prevent and protect against fraud. Some of these security measures include:

  1. The voter registration database and the voting tabulation system are two completely separate systems. The voting tabulation system is not connected to the internet. Therefore, cyber security threats involving the voting system are virtually impossible.

  2. The statewide voter registration is the central database used by each county to register and update voter registration. It is also used to define individual elections and generate ballot styles. The voter registration system is owned, operated, developed and maintained by the Colorado Secretary of State for use by all 64 counties. The voter registration system cannot directly connect to any voting system.

  3. Logic and accuracy tests are conducted before every election. The test ensures the voting system accurately tabulates votes cast for each candidate and ballot measure.

  4. A post-election audit is conducted after each election. The state randomly selects specified voting devices and races. A team of bipartisan judges tabulates the ballots and manually verifies the results.

  5. Chain of custody logs are maintained for secure, access-restricted locations. Voting systems and ballot boxes must be sealed with tamper-evident seals so any unauthorized access will be apparent. All voting systems and drop boxes are under 24-hour video surveillance.

  6. Background checks are conducted on all election staff and election judges. All election personnel are trained and agree to adhere to system authorized user policies.

  7. Mail ballots are sent to every active voter with an updated registration. These ballots may be voted in the privacy of your own home and when returned, then processed by election judges.

  8. Every single mail ballot cast in Colorado must have a signature on the return envelope. That signature is matched to a signature on file from the voter. The only way someone could fraudulently cast a vote is by forging the signature of the voter.

  9. Every vote cast in Colorado has a paper trail. In the event the election is challenged, the entire election can be recreated by examination of the hard copies of each ballot cast. Ballots are counted by citizen judges who have been appointed by each political party.

As this election draws near, it is pertinent to remind voters that our system is one of the best in the world. Colorado election officials work hard to ensure transparency and integrity in the voting process. Voter fraud, at least on a large scale, is especially difficult. Any occurrence of voter fraud will be investigated and referred to the district attorney for prosecution.

We welcome your questions and concerns and we invite you to be part of the entire process. Contact me, Lila Herod, at 970-824-9118 or send me an email at

Until next month, cheers!

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