Denver County clerk & recorder talks election security heading into November

A look at what the Denver Elections Division is doing to keep the election secure and accurate
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Posted at 5:45 PM, Oct 25, 2023

DENVER — Denver7 met with Denver County Clerk & Recorder Paul López to talk about how the Denver Elections Division is working to keep the November election secure and accurate.

"We're doing everything possible to make sure that we are maintaining an environment that's secure, that's safe, and completely accessible for people who want to return their ballot," said López.

Whether a ballot is mailed in, filled out in-person, or dropped off at one of Denver's 24/7 surveilled drop boxes, it ends up in the hands of a pair of bipartisan election judges.

"Either Republican or Democrat, or an unaffiliated voter and independent, it's always a bipartisan team that handles the ballots," said López.

The signature on the ballot envelope is verified by a machine. If it doesn't match the signature on record, a pair of bipartisan staffers, trained by an FBI specialist, will confirm if there's a match or not.

"They'll remove the ballot from the envelope, and those never see each other again. That's how we ensure voter anonymity," said López.

Each ballot is also given a random number to later be used in an audit.

"We test our systems before, and we do an audit after to ensure accuracy that the vote that was intended for that candidate and that race is counted accurately," said López.

The ballots are then processed. The division has a series of machines that can tabulate, and one specific unit that can run around 230 ballots per minute.

Denver7 asked about last year's audit.

"We batted 1,000. There was no discrepancies, and we've been doing that every election," said López.

Each part of the process is required by law to be monitored and recorded, with a copy of those recordings to be saved by the division for 25 months following the election. Any member of the public can come to the main office and watch the process on a monitor themselves. This year will be the first year the division will not be live streaming what's being monitored.

"We used to live stream it in the past. We have stopped doing that because of what we saw, and the recommendations from the Department of Homeland Security, Secretary of State's Office, could be threats to elections workers. Unfortunately, we live in an era where those threats are very real. So although we won't have live stream, folks are definitely welcome come in, be part of the process," said López.

The Elections Division building will also have some new security upgrades — something officials can't give specifics on but said is a typical practice for each election cycle.

To track your ballot and receive notifications on each step in the election process, you an sign up by clicking here.

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