AP article published by Chieftain, KMGH omitted fact that judge blamed former Secretary of State Dennis for failing to secure voting machines

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

A January 16 Associated Press article published in The Pueblo Chieftain and on KMGH 7News' website reported on Secretary of State Mike Coffman's efforts to enhance security standards for Colorado's electronic voting machines, but it failed to note that a state judge blamed former Republican Secretary of State Gigi Dennis' office for not properly certifying the machines in the first place.

Reporting that Colorado Secretary of State Mike Coffman (R) "began reviewing proposed security standards for electronic voting machines," a January 16 Associated Press article published in The Pueblo Chieftain and posted on ABC affiliate KMGH 7News' website omitted the fact that a Denver district judge found former Secretary of State Gigi Dennis' (R) office responsible for failing to properly certify the Colorado voting machines used during the November 7 election.

As The Denver Post reported on September 23, 2006, Denver District Judge Lawrence Manzanares ruled a day earlier that "Dennis' office never created minimum security standards for the [electronic voting] machines -- as required by state law" and that "the state did an 'abysmal' job of documenting testing during the certification process." The Post also noted that, according to Manzanares, Colorado's voting "machines still can be used because 'decertifying all the machines in the state ... would create more problems than it would solve.' " The article further reported that "after the election, the machines will have to be certified again under a better process, the judge ruled."

Reporting on Coffman's plans to enhance security standards to ensure Colorado's voting machines "meet state and federal specifications" and "comply with a district court order," the AP noted Manzanares' ruling, but it omitted any mention of Dennis or the fact that her office was found responsible for failing to properly certify those machines. "In late September, Denver District Judge Lawrence Manzanares issued a verbal ruling faulting the state for failing to come up with minimum security standards to make sure the machines couldn't be hacked," the AP article reported. It further noted that "Manzanares ordered the secretary of state to work with county officials to implement minimum security standards" but failed to identify Dennis as the secretary of state at the time of the order.

As Colorado Media Matters has noted, the Chieftain and KMGH have previously omitted from their coverage the fact that Dennis' office failed to create minimum security standards for Colorado's electronic voting machines. On November 18, 2006, the Chieftain reported that Dennis saw her "office through the process of certifying" new equipment to comply with federal requirements, but neglected to mention Manzanares' ruling. Similarly, a November 5, 2006, report on KMGH's 7News at 10 p.m. quoted Dennis as saying the state has "some of the toughest security right now in the country" for its voting machines but did not note that Dennis' office failed to properly certify the voting machines in the first place.

From the January 16 AP article in The Pueblo Chieftain and on KMGH 7News' website, "Secretary of state reviews voting machine security standards":

Secretary of State Mike Coffman on Monday began reviewing proposed security standards for electronic voting machines designed to ensure the devices meet state and federal specifications.

Coffman said the state must amend its current rules to comply with a district court order after security experts testified that electronic voting machines like those approved for Colorado can be tampered with quickly.

In late September, Denver District Judge Lawrence Manzanares issued a verbal ruling faulting the state for failing to come up with minimum security standards to make sure the machines couldn't be hacked.

[...]

Manzanares ordered the secretary of state to work with county officials to implement minimum security standards developed with the help of the voters who sued to stop the use of the machines.

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.