Colorado Voting Problem an "Oh Crap" Moment, Not Election Hacking

"We are investigating."

Getty Images / Marc Piscotty

Colorado’s voter system went down for almost a half-hour on election day, temporarily halting the process and forcing some voters to cast provisional ballots before the system came back online. However, Colorado officials say that the outage probably wasn’t the work of hackers.

“We think it was just your basic, ‘Oh, crap, the system’s down,’” Colorado Secretary of State spokeswoman Lynn Bartels tells Inverse. “We are investigating, however.”

The state’s voter registration system went down at 2:47 p.m. Mountain time. While the system was out, election clerks couldn’t confirm the identities of any potential in-person voters, nor could they process mail ballots. The system came back at 3:16 p.m. — 29 minutes later.

“Anyone who tried to vote in person during that period was given a provisional ballot,” Bartels said.

“Unfortunately, our system goes down now and then,” Bartels explained Tuesday in a tweet. “It [did] today and we regret that but am told it is back up.”

The Denver Post reported that most voters who were attempting to cast their vote at the polls opted to wait the 20 or so minutes it took for the system to come back to life rather than cast a provisional ballot.

Still, Democrats are going to court in an attempt to keep polls open for an extra 25 minutes in the state. We’ll update this story if more information comes to light.

The federal government was preparing for possible election day hacks in the weeks leading up to the election. There have been no major DDoS attacks, grid shutdowns, or too much misinformation spread so far today. One security report released this summer claims that hacking elections is easy.

“The entire process was vulnerable,” James Scott, co-author of the paper and senior fellow at ICIT, told Inverse. “All you have to do is focus on the swing states and you’re in.” Local voting machines are often stored in low-security storage and can easily be manipulated, using as little as a razor blade, acetone, and a USB drive.