The Pitkin County Election staff, Clerk and Recorder, and County Information Technology personnel participated in an election preparedness tabletop exercise in September designed as the “war games” of potential cyber and infrastructure threats to the upcoming midterm elections.
“The realistic exercises put us through the paces of minute-by-minute scenarios of what we’d do if something happened to compromise the election,” said Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder, Janice Vos Caudill. “We had to think on our feet during dramatized chaos and role play through situations that would be a Clerk’s worst nightmare during an election,” Vos said.
Presented by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office and Department of Homeland Security, the exercise attracted over 280 County Clerks, election staff, public information offices, IT personnel, and a few county managers from almost all of Colorado’s 64 counties. The simulation of worst-case scenarios ranged from a breakdown of the Colorado voter registration system in the months and weeks before the election to a Voter Service and Polling Center catching on fire. Other potential issues that could impact the operations of elections included the malfunction of voting machines and media claims of voter bias.
A big takeaway of the day was a better understanding of state cybersecurity resources available to counties, information sharing on how to address multiple variables and situations, and how counties and the Secretary of State can react and support each other during election time to ensure successful operations, and ultimately accurate, transparent, and secure elections for the State of Colorado electorate.
In addition to drawing representation from almost all 64 Colorado counties, two Secretaries of state from New Jersey and New Mexico, representatives from Ohio and the Director of DHS Elections Infrastructure - Information Sharing and Analysis Center were also on hand to observe. The keynote speaker at the event was Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen.
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Watch for your ballots in the mail the week of October 15th and use the new mail ballot drop box with 24/7 camera surveillance installed in front of the Pitkin County Clerk’s Office at 530 East Main Street in Aspen, or use the mail ballot drop boxes located at the Basalt Town Hall and Snowmass Town Hall. Ballots may be dropped off at any time from now until Election Day at 7 pm!
“Tell your neighbors. Early returned ballots mean electioneers will stop calling and knocking on doors, and your voted races and measures will be included in the first release of outcomes after 7 pm on Election Night,” Vos Caudill said. Go to www.pitkinvotes.com Election Results! for election night reporting of all Colorado and local races and measures.
Media Contact: Janice Vos Caudill - Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder - 970-429-2710