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Politics and Government

The FBI is training political campaigns to fight foreign influence in Colorado elections. And here’s what voters can do.

Top law enforcement and election officials offer tips to voters to prevent being duped in 2018 election

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The FBI hosted a first-in-the-nation training for candidates and campaigns in Colorado to help them guard against cybersecurity attacks ahead of the November election.

The closed-to-the-public seminar Monday focused on steps campaigns can take to protect voter data and efforts of foreign governments to influence politicians or the election.

Calvin Shivers, the outgoing special agent in charge of the FBI’s Denver division, said he is not aware of “any specific information regarding threats to elections in Colorado,” but he said protecting the integrity of the 2018 election is vital.

“I thought it was important for the FBI be proactive in working with our elected officials and our candidates to provide you with education and knowledge,” Shivers told a room of about 150 politicians, campaign workers and government officials on the Auraria campus in Denver.

Calvin Shivers, the FBI special agent in charge of the Denver division, greets Secretary of State Wayne Williams, middle, and CU Denver Chancellor Dorothy Horrell on stage at a cybersecurity conference July 10, 2018, in Denver. (Provided by the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office)

The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office co-sponsored the event, which followed a training exercise for election office workers last week. “We want people to know the election process is secure, but we also want citizens to know that their vote is going to be counted accurately,” Williams said in an interview.

The officials made clear that part of the responsibility to fight Russian interference or other cyber threats also falls to voters.

Here’s three things voters can do to prevent or respond to an election hack:

  1. If you see something, say something,” Shivers said. The Denver division’s top FBI agent said voters should report suspicious behavior to law enforcement officers.
  2. Make sure to use trusted media sources. “My office will be monitoring and responding to things that appear to be providing misinformation or disinformation, but as a voter check and make sure you know the source from which you are posting or retweeting,” Williams said. “Check to make sure it actually is a fact before you share it with other people.”
  3. Check your voter registration information. Right now, go to govotecolorado.com and verify your registration down to the middle initial.

ALSO: Mail ballots go to voters in Colorado on Oct. 15.

Williams said if voters don’t get the ballots by Oct. 22, they should call their county clerk.

He said there’s no evidence that ballots get mailed to other people, who then vote them. But he said a small number are misdelivered.

“When 3 million ballots are going out, there may be a few that don’t show up,” he said.