GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.
The Primary Election is less than four weeks away, and the Mesa County Elections Division conducted a logic and accuracy test of Dominion System’s voting equipment Wednesday. Elections Specialist, Clint Shelley says, “All the equipment functioned as expected. The judges signed off on everything. We ran our reports for the state, and re-zeroed everything, and verified it’s all ready to go for the election.”
The first part of that process is proving the voting equipment technology can’t connect to the internet. “All the hardware that could connect to the internet is completely disabled, and only the secretary of state has the ability to unlock that,” said Shelley.
Designated Election Official, Brandi Bantz says voting elections security has had to change. “We implemented a buddy system here in Mesa County. So, no one person, even though they’re authorized to be in this room, will be in here by themselves,” said Bantz.
Clerk Peters, who’s barred from elections and indicted for a voting system breach, allegedly had a person with her on the day of the breach, but the identity has not been released, and Mesa County District Attorney Dan Rubenstein says other people may be involved. Peters allegedly ordered cameras to be shut off, but Bantz says only the IT department controls the cameras, and the counting room is only accessed with a security badge logging the name, time, and date. Plus, you have to sign in. Bantz says, ” In addition to that, you have to have the password to get into actual computer system to get into the BIOS to use that security code that only the secretary of state’s office has to enable that Wi-Fi. So, it’s impossible for them to do it from the outside. They have to physically be here in the room, and it’s under surveillance.”
D.A. Rubenstein says there’s no evidence any votes in any of the Mesa County elections have been altered, changed, or improperly cast. He indicates there are potential security risks in other states, but none of those risks have been found in Colorado. Bantz says her focus is on a smooth election so everybody has the opportunity to have their voice heard. “There’s so many layers of checks and balances that we have,” said Bantz. “The testing that we do ahead of time of the election, everything’s done in bipartisan teams with all this added security.”
Designated Election Official Brandi Bantz says the new wave of election judges will start their training at the Mesa County Workforce Center as soon as Friday morning.