Jefferson, Adams county officials ensure election security

Luke Zarzecki
lzarzecki@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 10/4/22

With many elected positions up for grabs this upcoming election, officials in Jefferson and Adams counties ensure security when it comes to voting.

“We take election security seriously in …

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Jefferson, Adams county officials ensure election security

Posted

With many elected positions up for grabs this upcoming election, officials in Jefferson and Adams counties said they are working hard to make sure all votes are counted.

“We take election security seriously in every election and we've been working for many, many years now to ensure that our elections are secure from threats,” said Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder George Stern. 

Jefferson County and Adams County residents have many decisions to make for the upcoming November Election. Federal races, state legislators, the governor and state ballot initiatives will all be on the ballot, as well as Regional Transportation District, county seats and school board initiatives. 

As well, Jefferson County will see three ballot initiatives. 

“One is dealing with the county retaining non-property tax revenue, one dealing with the county allowing the sale of marijuana and one dealing with taxation of marijuana,” said Stern. 

In Brighton, City Clerk Natalie Hoel said there will be a special election for the Ward 1 councilmember. Candidates include Marisa Nickerson, Sherri Pollack and Tom Green.  Northglenn, Thornton, Westminster and Commerce City reported no ballot issues or councilors on the ballot in the 2022 election. 

Taking precautions

Stern said many precautions are taken to ensure the election is safe. His department works with law enforcement to protect the ballot processing facility, voting centers and vote drop boxes. All are under 24/7 surveillance and the footage is retained after the election.

Bipartisan election judges take care of the work. Each election volunteer is part of a bipartisan team that includes workers with different political beliefs. For example, a Democrat would be paired with a Republican. 

According to Adams County Clerk and Recorder Josh Zygielbaum, that process is required in state law. 

The election judges wear lanyards that identify their political party and Stern said there is no task completed by two people of the same political party.  The judges pick up votes from drop boxes and conduct the ballot processing in pairs. 

“They are always in their bipartisan team, staying vigilant to make sure that there are not any security threats or risks,” Stern said. “They report those when there are threats and then we are prepared to respond to any concern.”

For those questioning Jefferson County election security or who may not trust the voting process, Stern said the county welcomes watchers to see the election judges at work firsthand. For those who can’t make it in, they can find a tour of the entire facility online at jeffco.com that shows all of the security in place. 

“All of this is being done by hundreds of bipartisan election watchers," Stern said. "There are people who are their neighbors, who are their fellow church members, who they run into at the grocery store, who are actually doing the work of processing ballots. And all of it's being done under 24/7 surveillance and observed by watchers from the political parties who are there all the time, seeing how this plays out.”

Surveillance and GPS

Adams County Clerk and Recorder Josh Zygielbaum said his county’s process and it’s similar to Jefferson County. 

In Adams, they also have 24-hour surveillance and require bipartisan election judges, as required by state law. They have security teams to go around to collect ballots and those teams are monitored by GPS. 

Zygielbaum said their building’s doors are all secured by badge access. Only employees and election workers are allowed access. Those up for election, like Zygielbaum, are only allowed access to their office and the restrooms. 

“I can't get into any of the election processing facilities,” he said. 

Zygielbaum also invites those who don’t trust Adams County’s process to tour the office. Residents can sign up on the clerk's website,  www.adamsvotes, for tours. 

He said the county livestreams its audits and each ballot is cast on paper, meaning there is always a paper trail of what takes place. 

“I encourage anyone that does not fully trust in the process or in the system to get involved, become an election worker, become an election watcher, or come on in for a tour or do all the above,” he said. “Everyone is welcome, this is their election, this is their office.”

At the end of the election, a statistically significant audit is completed and signed off by a bipartisan group of appointees from both the republican and democratic parties. 

Both clerks emphasized the importance of voting.

“This is your one opportunity every couple of years to have a say in the direction that not just your state and federal government are going, but your local government too,” Stern said. “It's critically important to exercise one of your most important rights, and we've made it as accessible and secure as possible, so voters should take advantage of that.”

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