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Election 2022

Misinformation spreads about election recount in El Paso County

A test of the county’s equipment, required by law before a recount, found no issues, county officials and Dominion Voting Systems confirmed to The Associated Press

Tina Peters during the GOP assembly at the Broadmoor World Arena on Saturday, April 9, 2022, in Colorado Springs. (Hugh Carey, The Colorado Sun)

By Josh Kelety, The Associated Press

CLAIM: Dominion voting machines in El Paso County failed an accuracy test during preparations for a recount following the June 2022 primary election.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS’S ASSESSMENT: False.

A test of the county’s equipment, required by law before a recount, found no issues, county officials and Dominion Voting Systems confirmed to The Associated Press. The machines, fed dummy ballots that had been left partially blank, correctly flagged those ballots for additional human review. The process showed that the machines are working as intended, not failing.

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THE FACTS: Colorado officials announced last week that a statewide recount for the June secretary of state primary contest would be held at the request of Republican candidate Tina Peters. Peters, an election conspiracy theorist and Mesa County’s clerk and recorder, lost her bid for the top elections job by more than 85,000 votes.

After the announcement, posts quickly spread on social media claiming that election hardware in El Paso County had failed an accuracy test related to the recount.

“Breaking: Dominion voting machines fail logic & accuracy test in El Paso County, CO recount. Almost 60% of test ballots sent to adjudication,” one Twitter user wrote on Friday. The tweet was shared more than 2,800 times.

The claim also spread on blogs. One post published Friday by The Gateway Pundit, a conservative blog, featured the headline, “BREAKING: Dominion Voting Machines FAIL Testing for Colorado Secretary of State Recount — Major Discrepancy Reported with Logic and Accuracy Testing.” The post claimed that more than 2,000 ballots tested were “kicked out for adjudication.”

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These claims are false, and misrepresent how the voting machines are tested, according to officials.

A logic and accuracy test, which ensures the efficacy of the voting equipment, is required by law before the recount can begin, Kristi Ridlen, a spokesperson for the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder, wrote in an email to the AP. The county’s Dominion Voting Systems election equipment passed the test.

“The Logic and Accuracy test passed with 100% accuracy rate,” Ridlen wrote. “The disinformation was originally reported by Ms. Tina Peter’s Campaign for Colorado Secretary of State and others on social media such as Gateway Pundit.”

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The test used 4,200 dummy ballots, featuring every possible formulation of a vote that could be cast in the June 2022 primary election, Chuck Broerman, the El Paso county clerk and recorder, told the AP in a phone interview. Of those 4,200, 2,226 dummy ballots deliberately contained undervotes, or instances where a selection for a race was left blank. State recount rules require the machines to flag any ballots with undervotes and forward them to bipartisan teams, who then ensure the ballots are tabulated correctly.

So the fact that 2,226 dummy ballots were sent for further review shows that the machines are working as designed and in accordance with state law, not that they are failing, Broerman said.

“The machine is doing exactly as it’s supposed to by statute,” Broerman said. “It’s not an error, it’s exactly what we expected.”

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Peters’ campaign did not respond to the AP’s request for comment, nor did The Gateway Pundit.

In a statement, Dominion Voting Systems disputed the claims that its voting equipment had failed the test.

“The machines are doing exactly what they have been configured to do during pre-election testing,” the statement reads. “Any claims about machine ‘failures’ are 100% false and a misrepresentation of the process.”

After the June 28 primary, Peters’ request for a recount was initially unsuccessful as she did not pay the $236,000 that the Colorado Secretary of State’s office charged, resulting in the certification of her loss on July 25, the AP reported. State officials subsequently agreed to a recount after Peters announced that she had raised the funds.

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Peters also faces felony charges for her alleged role in breaking into another Colorado county’s election system in search of proof of conspiracy theories promoted by former President Donald Trump, according to AP reporting. She denies that she did anything illegal and argues that the charges are political retribution.

The recount, which encompasses requested recounts for three local races in El Paso County in addition to the secretary of state race, began on Sunday, according to Ridlen. It will be completed by Thursday.


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