Last Wednesday, on behalf of the Arapahoe County Republican Party, I personally tested the “Dominion voting machines.” Come to find out, they’re not really “voting machines” after all.
In fact, the election equipment really consists of four parts: (1) a high-speed Canon scanner that marks each ballot with a unique code in red ink for future reference, which is attached to (2) a Windows computer with Dominion tabulation software; (3) a large tablet on a wall with Dominion adjudication software; and (4) the tablets often used for in-person voting.
Recently, my county party chairwoman asked me to be the GOP’s designee on the Arapahoe County Canvass Board – also including the Democrats’ designee – for the 2021 coordinated elections. I participated in last week’s Logic and Accuracy Test (LAT) held by the Arapahoe Clerk’s office, and I’ll return for the upcoming Risk Limiting Audit and then Certification following the November 2 elections.
Given my extensive criticisms of Arapahoe County Clerk and Recorder Joan Lopez since shortly after she took office — even leading calls for her resignation in late-2019 — Republicans who are skeptical of Lopez and of elections in general can be confident in my discernment and critical eye.
It’s highly premature to render a verdict on everything, but I think it’s valuable to publicly walk through the LAT process, what I learned and why I signed off on “100% accuracy” in tabulating ballots for Arapahoe County Republicans — especially since the LAT is something every county does annually.
The LAT tests the logic and accuracy of the various elements of the system. Representatives from both major political parties as well as the various cities and special districts observe and participate.
The Democrat designee and I were given a shared stack of more than 2,000 pre-marked ballots that had already been tabulated. We reviewed the ballots, compared tabulation results and it looked good. We signed off on Test #1.
Test #2 was especially interesting. Each member of the Canvass Board was given 25 unmarked ballots for various election layouts in Arapahoe County covering different city and school board races. The representatives for the cities and special districts received 10 for their territories. We filled our ballots out.
Needless to say, I took a long time to do mine because I wanted to try all sorts of combinations to rigorously test the adjudication process. I simulated numerous undervotes and overvotes; I “corrected” certain overvotes by crossing out “erroneous votes” as the directions suggest (drawing a straight line through the wrong vote) or by putting other markers to indicate a correction. I even filled out one ballot in red ink and another using yellow highlighter to see what would happen. I wanted to really put the adjudication process to the test.
While I marked my ballots, I read each intended vote aloud and an Arapahoe Clerk employee tallied them in a prepared packet. Next, I took my filled-out ballots to Station #4 (which I’d randomly selected) and was explained next steps by a second staffer. I put 25 ballots in the high-speed Canon scanners and pressed “Scan” on the Dominion software via the touchscreen monitor. In no time, the ballots were scanned and enumerated.
A few minutes later, I was brought to the adjudication station — a tall and thin tablet screen on a wall with Dominion’s adjudication software on it. Normally a bipartisan panel of election judges would sit there and go through all the ballots flagged by the system. This time it was me and another Clerk staffer. Because I got so creative with filling out my ballots, she walked me through more than half of them for corrections.
As we “interpreted” voter intent, we made adjustments. Overvotes were disqualified. Ballots with “mistakes” were manually adjusted in the software based on interpreting voter intent. (There was a guidebook laying out many different scenarios.) The ballots where I used highlighter and red pen showed up blank, as I anticipated. In an actual election, they would have been removed from the voter’s envelope and set aside for manual tabulation when election workers noticed the abnormal colorations.
After that, a report was printed out and we compared the final software tally with the manual tally. Everything checked out. I signed off on Test #2, as the Democrat did for hers.
For Test #3, I keyed in the equivalent ballot formats from my paper ballots to run the same elections on the tablets voters often use for in-person voting. I tapped each intended vote, reviewed them all and then tapped “Print.” (An actual voter could review their printed paper record before putting into an envelope for counting later.) The paper records were run through another scanner and a report was printed. I cross-checked that printout against the Test #2 results and everything correlated. I approved Test #3.
Truthfully, I was struck by the amount of human review in the adjudication process alone. If massive numbers of votes were magically “switched,” it’s impossible to see how they wouldn’t be caught in the adjudication software and bipartisan human checks.
In the end, both Republican and Democratic parties in Arapahoe County joined our counterparts in counties throughout the state, such as El Paso and Mesa, in signing off on “100% accuracy” of the tabulation systems — with Dominion as the central element for most — in each county.
Even embattled Mesa Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters touted the results of their Dominion-centric test, reportedly proclaiming in an all-staff email, “We always [pass]!” Indeed, every Colorado voter should celebrate the efficacy of our voting systems and how votes are tallied. That’s a good thing.
“Great job to our citizen judges and helpers,” Peters cheered. “Eight elections and counting!... You all rock!”