Editor's note: This article has been updated to correct the percentage of the audit results as written numerically, which were incorrectly written by the Clerk and Recorder's Office during a public presentation this week.

An independent audit of El Paso County’s voting results in the November election found the local all-mail system functioned without error, despite national claims that similar systems were rife with fraud.

El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Chuck Broerman said Tuesday the results of the independent review, conducted by ClearAudit, were within a tiny fraction — 0.002% — of official results tabulated by the Dominion Voting System the county uses, “validat(ing) the bipartisan certified results from the 2020 November General Election.”

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“In no way was there any systemic effort by our vendor, or any processes that we had, that skewed the results. It underscores the confidence that we should have in this system,” Broerman said.

A comparison of audited results to those tabulated by the county’s voting system found just one fewer vote for Commissioner Stan VanderWerf than was reported by Dominion when he ran for re-election in the fall, and three fewer votes for the county’s newest commissioner, Carrie Geitner. For Commissioner Longinos Gonzalez, who also ran for re-election last year, the audit found three more votes than were reported by Dominion.

The audit also found former President Donald Trump and his running mate, former Vice President Mike Pence, garnered five fewer votes than the Dominion system reported. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris earned eight fewer votes, the audit found.

The variability among results is due to different techniques used by each system, Broerman said. Dominion counts the number of pixels filled in the oval next to a candidate’s name on a ballot, while ClearAudit tabulates results by comparing the contrast between the white ballot and the dark ink used to fill it out.

Broerman said the audit was not a requirement and El Paso County is the first in Colorado to conduct an additional review of its election results. His office could continue conducting independent audits of election results in the future, he added.

The results eliminate the notion that voting systems use an algorithm to give more votes to one candidate over the other, Broerman said, a claim Trump and other Republicans made about Dominion Voting Systems following the election.

Trump and other Republicans have also criticized mail-in voting, claiming without evidence that mail balloting is fraudulent. Local and state leaders in Colorado and elsewhere have refuted these claims.

Of the roughly 383,000 ballots cast in El Paso County during the November election, almost all arrived in the mail. Only about 25,000 county residents voted in person, with just over 11,000 of them doing so on Election Day.

“I think we’re in good stead in our results and we can be very confident in our results,” Broerman said.

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This month, the county Clerk and Recorder’s office announced its new ballot image audit and review tool, which allows individuals to view, sort, filter and download ballot images from the 2020 General Election, according to a department news release.

The tool is available on the Clerk and Recorder website, clerkandrecorder.elpasoco.com/elections/records-and-results.

Results from the independent audit will also be available on the website, Broerman said.

 

Reporter

Breeanna Jent covers El Paso County government. She previously worked as the editorial assistant for the Pikes Peak Newspapers and joined their sister paper, The Gazette, in 2020.

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