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Wednesday,

March 22, 2017 at 4:29:46 PM Eastern Daylight Time

Subject: FW: Elec)on security threats should be considered before reducing elec)on verica)on ac)vi)es --
Watcher bill SB138
Date: Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 4:29:14 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Marilyn Marks

From: Marilyn Marks


Date: Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 2:23 PM
To:All Colorado State Senators
Cc: Al Kolwicz
Subject: Elec)on security threats should be considered before reducing elec)on verica)on ac)vi)es -
-Watcher bill SB138

Colorado State Senators:

This week, FBI Director Comey acknowledged to Congress that Russians attempted to hack
selected states voter databases in the 2016 election. This confirmed previous reports of
attempted hacking in almost half of the states, with successful infiltration in at least two
states. Voting systems security experts have been relentlessly warning that cybersecurity
threats put our electoral mechanics at great risk. Virtually all experts warn that protections are
inadequate and outdated. Yet, even with this alarming backdrop, you will be asked by Senator
Tate and the Secretary of State to vote for SB-138 to greatly restrict parties, candidates and
campaigns rights of oversight and independent verification of elections. The intent is to
obscure and conceal any discovery or investigation of irregularities, whether from cyber-
security attacks or everyday errors.

Election officials across the globe are attempting to protect against the greatest risk of
manipulated election outcomes in history. The Netherlands recently decided to sideline
electronic counting and rely on hand counting, fearing undetected hacking in their upcoming
election. France announced this month that electronic voting would be discontinued for this
springs election. The FBI is investigating a hack of Georgias election systems maintenance
vendor in advance of next months special congressional election. Yet, Colorado voters are
being told that less oversight and limited verification is desirable in the current high-risk
environment. SB-138 forces reduced oversight, less independent observation, limited access,
and fewer watchers in the face of increased election security risk.

Voters have dwindling confidence in the accuracy and legitimacy of the elections, with close to
40% of voters doubting the accuracy of election outcomes. Additionally, 46% of voters believe
that millions of illegal votes were cast in the 2016 election. How could such low confidence
merit reduced vigilance as Colorados response? Volunteer citizen watchers are the eyes and
ears of the public during the election process. Good public policy dictates more access and
verification, in the face of increased technical risks and decreased voter confidence, not less.
There could be no worse time to restrict election oversight and review.

Senator Tate has not articulated any significant problems that require diluting the clear and
appropriate watcher statute that grants rights to campaign appointed watchers to witness and
verify each step in the conduct of the election, and to assist in the correction of

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discrepancies. The reduction of watcher rights reducing transparency and verifiability of the
elections goes in the wrong direction with no compelling reason to do so. Instead, the
compelling rationale is on the side of more transparency and more watcher access.

Colorado elections are unique activities involving government because the states founders
constructed elections to be independently conducted by balanced partisan teams of citizen
judges and overseen by citizen watchers, --not controlled by elected government officials.
Senator Tates bill seeks to shift more control into the hands of government officials, and strip
powers of independent oversight from citizens.

We believe that the vast majority of Colorado voters would support more citizen oversight and
election transparency, particularly given the increasingly alarming technological risks to the
security of elections. SB138 undermines citizens rights and responsibilities to control and
oversee their elections, and should be rejected by the Senate.

Sincerely,

Al Kolwicz, Trustee, Colorado Voter Group


Marilyn Marks, election activist

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