1-7-509. Electronic and electromechanical vote counting – testing of equipment required – definition
Overview of Statute
Designated election officials must test electronic or electromechanical voting systems three times to ensure the voting system is properly programmed, correctly defined on the voting system, and functions properly. The secretary of state will promulgate the rules for conducting these tests, as well as tests for each type of ballot. The designated election official will also select a testing board comprised of at least one person from each major political party for partisan elections, and a board of at least two registered electors for nonpartisan elections.
Following required notice to the public, election officials must also perform a public test that includes running a predetermined set of ballots to ensure proper voting results. Representatives of the political parties, the press, and the public can observe these tests, but any person who disrupts the testing will be removed and cannot return for any future public test. Only voting machines that pass the public test can be used, and machines that fail must be inspected to determine the problem. The testing board will ensure proper compliance with these provisions and the use of satisfactory machines. Lastly, designated election officials will maintain records of the results of testing of the electronic and electromechanical tabulation devices.
 C.R.S. § 1-6-102: a list of major political parties
(1) (a) An electronic or electromechanical voting system shall be tested at the conclusion of maintenance and testing. The tests shall be sufficient to determine that the voting system is properly programmed, the election is correctly defined on the voting system, and all of the voting system’s input, output, and communication devices are working properly.
(b) The designated election official shall conduct at least three tests on all electronic and electromagnetic voting equipment, including a hardware test, a public logic and accuracy test conducted in accordance with subsection (2) of this section, and a postelection test or audit conducted in accordance with rules promulgated by the secretary of state. Each type of ballot, including mail, provisional, and audio ballots, shall be tested in accordance with rules promulgated by the secretary of state. The tests must ensure that the equipment will correctly count the votes cast for all offices and on all ballot questions and ballot issues and that the voting system will accurately count ballots of all types.
(c) (I) For all partisan elections, the designated election official shall select a testing board comprising at least two persons, one from each major political party, from the list provided by the major political parties pursuant to section 1-6-102.
(II) For all nonpartisan elections, the designated election official or coordinated election official, as applicable, shall select a testing board comprising at least two persons who are registered electors.
(2) (a) A public test of voting equipment shall be conducted prior to the commencement of voting in accordance with this section by processing a preaudited group of ballots produced so as to record a predetermined number of valid votes for each candidate and on each ballot question or ballot issue. The test shall ensure that the system accurately records votes when the elector has the option of voting for more than one candidate in a race. The test shall ensure that the voting system properly rejects and does not count overvotes and undervotes.
(b) The public test shall be open to representatives of the political parties, the press, and the public, subject to the rules promulgated by the secretary of state pursuant to subsection (6) of this section. Each major political party, minor political party, ballot issue committee that has an issue on the ballot, and coordinating entity may designate one person, who shall be allowed to witness all public tests and the counting of pretest votes. If an observer or designee hinders or disturbs the test process, the designated election official may remove the person from the test area. An observer or designee who has been removed from a public test may be barred from future tests. The absence of observers or designees shall not delay or stop the public test.
(c) The testing board shall convene and designate at least one member to represent the board during the testing, sign the necessary reports, and report to the board. The programs and ballots used for testing shall be attested to and sealed by the board and retained in the custody of the designated election official. The absence of a member of the testing board shall not delay or stop the test.
(d) Upon completion of the testing conducted pursuant to this section, the testing board or its representative and the representatives of the political parties, ballot issue committees, and coordinating entities who attended the test may witness the resetting of each device that passed the test to a preelection state of readiness and the sealing of each such device in order to secure its state of readiness.
(e) The testing board or its representative shall sign a written statement indicating the devices tested, the results of the testing, the protective counter numbers of each device, if applicable, the number of the seal attached to each device upon completion of the testing, any problems reported to the designated election official as a result of the testing, and whether each device tested is satisfactory or unsatisfactory.
(3) Notice of the fact that the public test will take place shall be posted in the designated public place for posting notices in the county for at least seven days before the public test. The notice shall indicate the general time frame during which the test may take place and the manner in which members of the public may obtain specific information about the time and place of the test. Nothing in this subsection (3) shall preclude the use of additional methods of providing information about the public test to members of the public.
(4) (a) If any tested device is found to have an error in tabulation, it shall be deemed unsatisfactory. For each device deemed unsatisfactory, the testing board shall attempt to determine the cause of the error, attempt to identify and test other devices that could reasonably be expected to have the same error, and test a number of additional devices sufficient to determine that all other devices are satisfactory. The cause of any error detected shall be corrected, and an errorless count shall be made before the voting equipment is approved. The test shall be repeated and errorless results achieved before official ballots are counted.
(b) If an error is detected in the operation or output of an electronic voting device, including an error in spelling or in the order of candidates on a ballot, the problem shall be reported to the testing board and the designated election official. The designated election official shall correct the error.
(c) A voting device deemed unsatisfactory shall be recoded, repaired, or replaced and shall be made available for retesting unless a sufficient number of tested backup devices is available to replace the unsatisfactory device. The backup device may not be used in the election unless the testing board or its representative determines that the device is satisfactory. The designated election official shall announce at the conclusion of the first testing the date, place, and time that an unsatisfactory device will be retested, or, at the option of the testing board, the designated election official shall notify by telephone each person who was present at the first testing of the date, place, and time of the retesting.
(5) The designated election official shall keep records of all previous testing of electronic and electromechanical tabulation devices used in any election. Such records shall be available for inspection and reference during public testing by any person in attendance. The need of the testing board for access to such records during the testing shall take precedence over the need of other attendees for access so that the work of the testing board will not be hindered. Records of testing shall include, for each device, the name of the person who tested the device and the date, place, time, and results of each test. Records of testing shall be retained as part of the official records of the election in which the device is used.
(6) The secretary of state shall promulgate rules in accordance with article 4 of title 24, C.R.S., prescribing the manner of performing the logic and accuracy testing required by this section.
Source: L. 2005: Entire section added, p. 1404, § 27, effective June 6; entire section added, p. 1439, § 27, effective June 6.L. 2007: (1)(b) amended, p. 1779, § 17, effective June 1.L. 2010: (1)(c) amended, (HB 10-1116), ch. 194, p. 833, § 16, effective May 5.L. 2012: (1)(c)(III) added, (HB 12-1292), ch. 181, p. 686, § 31, effective May 17.L. 2013: (1)(b) amended, (HB 13-1303), ch. 185, p. 723, § 76, effective May 10.
Cross references: In 2013, subsection (1)(b) was amended by the “Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act”. For the short title and the legislative declaration, see sections 1 and 2 of chapter 185, Session Laws of Colorado 2013.
- Election Day
- Regulation & Duties of Election Officials
- Storage and Control of Voting Machines
- Voting Technology
“Voting system” as defined in section 1-1-104(50.8), C.R.S., means:
(a) The total combination of mechanical, electromechanical, or electronic equipment (including the software, firmware, and documentation required to program, control, and support the equipment) that is used to:
(2) Cast and count votes;
(3) Report or display election results; and
(4) Maintain and produce any audit trail information.
(b) The practices and associated documentation used to:
(1) Identify system components and versions of such components;
(2) Test the system during its development and maintenance;
(3) Maintain records of system errors and defects;
(4)Determine specific system changes to be made to a system after the initial qualification of the system; and
(5) Make available any materials to the voter (such as notices, instructions, forms, or paper ballots).
(c) “Voting system” does not include any other component of election administration, such as voter registration applications or systems, electronic pollbooks, ballot delivery and retrieval systems, signature verification and envelope sorting devices, ballot on demand printers, election night reporting and other election reporting systems, and other components used throughout the election process that do not capture and tabulate votes.
The rules define “audio ballot” as a voter interface containing the list of all candidates, ballot issues, and ballot questions upon which an eligible elector is entitled to vote in an election. It also provides the voter with audio stimuli and allows the voter to communicate voting intent to the voting system through vocalization or physical actions.
1. Definition for Issue committee
Any person, other than a natural person, or any group of two or more persons, including natural persons:
(I) That has a major purpose of supporting or opposing any ballot issue or ballot question; or
(II) That has accepted or made contributions or expenditures in excess of two hundred dollars to support or oppose any ballot issue or ballot question.
(b) “Issue committee” does not include political parties, political committees, small donor committees, or candidate committees as otherwise defined in this section.
(c) An issue committee shall be considered open and active until affirmatively closed by such committee or by action of the appropriate authority.
Section 2(10) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.
(b) For purposes of section 2 (10) (a) (I) of article XXVIII of the state constitution, “major purpose” means support of or opposition to a ballot issue or ballot question that is reflected by:
(I) An organization’s specifically identified objectives in its organizational documents at the time it is established or as such documents are later amended; or
(II) An organization’s demonstrated pattern of conduct based upon its:
(A) Annual expenditures in support of or opposition to a ballot issue or ballot question; or
(B) Production or funding, or both, of written or broadcast communications, or both, in support of or opposition to a ballot issue or ballot question.
(c) The provisions of paragraph (b) of this subsection (12) are intended to clarify, based on the decision of the Colorado court of appeals in Independence Institute v. Coffman, 209 P.3d 1130 (Colo. App. 2008), cert. denied, — U.S. —, 130 S. Ct. 165, 175 L. Ed. 479 (2009), section 2 (10) (a) (I) of article XXVIII of the state constitution and not to make a substantive change to said section 2 (10) (a) (I).
C.R.S. § 1-45-103.
2. Definition for Political party
Any group of registered electors who, by petition or assembly, nominate candidates for the official general election ballot. “Political party” includes affiliated party organizations at the state, county, and election district levels, and all such affiliates are considered to be a single entity for the purposes of this article, except as otherwise provided in section 7. Section 2(13) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.
3. Definition for Designated election official
The secretary of state, a county clerk and recorder, or other election official as provided by article XXI of the state constitution. C.R.S. § 1-12-100.5.
4. Definition for State
A state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. C.R.S. § 1-8.3-102.
5. Definition for Ballot
(a) A federal write-in absentee ballot;
(b) A ballot specifically prepared or distributed for use by a covered voter in accordance with this article; or
(c) A ballot cast by a covered voter in accordance with this article.
(2) “Covered voter” means:
(a) A uniformed-service voter defined in paragraph (a) of subsection (9) of this section who is a resident of this state but who is absent from this state by reason of active duty and who otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements;
(b) An overseas voter who, before leaving the United States, was last eligible to vote in this state and, except for a state residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements;
(c) An overseas voter who, before leaving the United States, would have been last eligible to vote in this state had the voter then been of voting age and, except for a state residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements; or
(d) An overseas voter who was born outside the United States, is not described in paragraph (b) or (c) of this subsection (2), and, except for a state residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this state’s voter eligibility requirements if the last place where a parent, legal guardian, spouse, or civil union partner of the voter was, or under this article would have been, eligible to vote before leaving the United States is within this state.
C.R.S. § 1-8.3-102.
6. Definition for Person
Any natural person, partnership, committee, association, corporation, labor organization, political party, or other organization or group of persons. Section 2(11) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.
7. Definition for Election
Any election under the “Uniform Election Code of 1992” or the “Colorado Municipal Election Code of 1965”, article 10 of title 31, C.R.S. C.R.S. § 1-7.5-103.
8. Definition for Secretary
The Colorado secretary of state. C.R.S. § 1-1.5-102.
9. Definition for Committee
The committee of signers described in section 1-12-108(2). C.R.S. § 1-12-100.5.
10. Definition for Candidate
Any person who seeks nomination or election to any state or local public office that is to be voted on in this state at any primary election, general election, school district election, special district election, or municipal election. “Candidate” also includes a judge or justice of any court of record who seeks to be retained in office pursuant to the provisions of section 25 of article VI. A person is a candidate for election if the person has publicly announced an intention to seek election to public office or retention of a judicial office and thereafter has received a contribution or made an expenditure in support of the candidacy. A person remains a candidate for purposes of this article so long as the candidate maintains a registered candidate committee. A person who maintains a candidate committee after an election cycle, but who has not publicly announced an intention to seek election to public office in the next or any subsequent election cycle, is a candidate for purposes of this article. Section 2(2) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.