Freedom 560, Wayne Williams and Kevin Lundberg, May 29, 2015

Station:   KLZ, 560 AM

Show:      Freedom 560

Guests:    Williams, Wayne;  Lundberg, Kevin


Date:       May 29, 2015


Click Here for Audio


HOST KEN CLARK:  So, Zach — Where are my guests? […] So, they’re going to be in-studio. Wayne Williams is coming in to the studio. I’m going to have Secretary of State, Wayne Williams, in-studio. This ought to be fun!  Have I sued him lately?  […] No?  I guess I haven’t.  Okay, that’s good. Well, that’s a good thing!  […] And to be fair, there was a group of us that had filed an election suit, and in that election suit was named the Secretary of State.  Wayne was not the Secretary of State during the time that that suit was filed.  And when he became Secretary of State, he inherited that.  And he subsequently won.  [laughter]  I don’t even remember which particular case that one was, but that was a lot of fun.  So, we’re going to be talking about mail-in ballots in the state of Colorado.  We’re going to be talking about some issues with internet voting.  There was a bill that was proposed in the last legislature that would allow internet voting for military men and women overseas, and it was supposed to be done as a last resort.  The bill ultimately died.  And there were a lot of amendments to the thing. Let’s just go back to 2013, when we had House Bill [13]-1303, subsequently followed up in 2014 with [HB] 1164.  [HB]1303 was the all mail-in ballot, same-day voter registration.  We’re the only state in the country that has same day voter registration and all mail-in ballots.  […] And all mail-in voting is very convenient for the voter.  I don’t like it. There’s not a thing I like about it, because voting is a civic responsibility.  As a citizen, it is your civic duty to be educated about politics, because whether you think politics matters to you, I’ll tell you what, it pays attention–. Wayne, come on in, yeah!   Wayne is now showing up in-studio.  But I am not a big fan of internet voting, at all.  I am not a fan of all mail-in ballots, because I believe that it has the ability to be corrupted.  And for that reason, I just don’t like it.  […] Wayne, welcome to Freedom560! It’s good to have you back!

COLORADO SECRETARY OF STATE, WAYNE WILLIAMS:  It’s good to be here.  Thank you very much!  Sorry about that traffic issue as we came over.

CLARK:  So, was there an accident somewhere? Or just – [did] you guys just get started late?

WILLIAMS:  It’s Friday.  It’s Friday, so we must be all –.


WILLIAMS:  Well, I was in a meeting dealing with some watcher issues, and some other issues.

CLARK:  Yeah, I heard.

WILLIAMS:  We’re working!  You know, we’re still working, the legislature may be out of session, but uh, we’re still continuing to work in my office.

CLARK:  Let me ask you this question:  what has been going on?  Because that – there was a bill that was attempted, and it didn’t pass, and that was the internet voting bill, which was supposed to be — that bill didn’t pass, right?  That one was killed, in the legislature.

WILLIAMS:  There was no internet voting bill.

CLARK:  Right.

WILLIAMS:  Um, there was a bill – so, let me give background.  You might remember in 2000, the Democrats tried to steal the election, in the view of some Republicans, by disqualifying military ballots in Florida.

CLARK:  I do remember that.

WILLIAMS:  Evenutually, Joe Lieberman came out and said, “That’s not right.  We shouldn’t be doing that.” And so to Senator Lieberman’s credit, he stood up and said we should not be trying to disqualify the military.  But the response to that over the next few years is a desire to make sure that the men and women who protect this nation have the right to vote.  They protect the right to vote, they ought to have the right to vote.

CLARK:  We’ve had a lot of issues in Colorado.  Um, we’ve had issues in Boulder County, where Hillary – I can’t remember the clerk of Boulder County, what her last name is – but she has tried to deny some military voting. She’s denied watchers access to count military voting in Boulder County.  Anyway, just to –.

WILLIAMS:  So, there is – and so, the Republican Party and other–and a number of good Democrats, as well—said, “We think it’s important that the men and women who serve have the ability to vote.”  And so, there have been a series of federal laws and state laws that give individuals in the military additional time to receive their ballot, and additional ways to transmit the ballot.  Not to vote on the internet.  That is not something allowed under state law.  It is not done under any state election, or any election we supervise.  But the transmission of that ballot can be done. So, you can email it as a GIF, or a jpeg, or a PDF – if you are a member of the military.  You can print out the ballot, sign it. It is then scanned in and mailed back.  And you can mail it via traditional mail, which is subject to a number of issues in a number of foreign countries, and even here in the U.S. – sometimes subject to issues.  […] If you’re a missionary in China, um, do you necessarily trust the Communist Chinese government with your mail ballot?

CLARK:  Well, okay, let me clarify a couple of things I want to get clarified, first and foremost. We’re not talking about missionaries.

WILLIAMS:  No, we’re talking about both.  Both!

CLARK:  We’re talking about military personnel and missionaries.

WILLIAMS:  Any American who is overseas and – you know, I come from Colorado Springs, where I was Clerk and Recorder.  We have a lot of Christian missionary organizations based in Colorado Springs.  We have missionaries that go around the world.

CLARK:  Okay.

WILLIAMS:  And those individuals are often not right by the embassy.  They’re often not even by a military base, and so they have a number of ways in which they have to figure out how to get their ballot back.  But we’ve had folks from Colorado –.

CLARK:  What about just somebody who is just travelling?

WILLIAMS:  Travelling — if you are out of the country that entire time, also meets that.

CLARK:  But if you are not a missionary, if you’re not a member of the — if you’re just me.  If I’m out there.

WILLIAMS:  If you decide you want to spend a semester abroad in Tokyo.  If –So, we’ve got an individual from western Colorado that works for NOOA [spells the acronym]—the folks you actually get your weather stuff from.  And they’re actually stationed in Antarctica sometimes.  And Antarctica doesn’t have any flights in and out in the month of October, I’m told, because of weather issues.  Apparently, the weather can get bad in Antarctica.

CLARK:  Okay.

WILLIAMS:  We have sailors who serve on a submarine –.

CLARK:  Yeah, but there is a distinction that I wanted to make sure we’re drawing, because originally this was being talked about as strictly for the military men and women.  And now what I understand, based on what you’re telling me, is this is for pretty much anybody who happens to be gone out of the United States, they can transmit – and you’re talking about transmission only. Not actually voting on the internet.  But let’s say you download your ballot, you mark your ballot, you upload it to a PDF and then you email it back.

Right.  Yes.

CLARK:  So, it’s simply talking about the transmission of that ballot.

That is correct.

CLARK:  But it is also—

And, anyone–.

CLARK:  Hold on.  But it is also for anyone – any citizen, anybody who has the legal right to vote –who happens to be wherever, when they can’t do it via mail, right?

WILLIAMS:  [Anyone who] has the legal ability to vote, is an overseas citizen – so, a citizen who is overseas—and a military member who is out of the state.  We then – so, that right already existed in Colorado, and has existed for a number of years.  The existing law goes back to 2011.  There is a predecessor law, that I’ve heard some people cite some history of, but that is a 2006 law.  That’s not the existing law, now.  The 2011 law allows that – and indeed, mandates that ability, because we want to protect the people these – who protect the nation have the right to vote.  It mandates that they have the ability, if they believe that it’s not available or feasible to use a regular mail service, that they have that ability to transmit it.   But, that right exists –.

CLARK:  Now, who makes that determination?  What are the guidelines as far as that determination is concerned?

WILLIAMS:  Excellent question.  Let me finish one concept real quick.  Um, that exists in every federal election.  It exists in every state election.  It did not exist in municipal elections under Colorado law. And so, this bill—HB-1130, which did pass and was signed by the Governor on Wednesday – I was at the bill signing – provides for that right to be extended to municipal elections.  Now, go ahead and –

CLARK:  Okay, well, the question is: Who makes the determination?  Because, I mean, I could – and let’s face it, based on the all mail-in ballots that it hugely popular – I don’t like it at all—but I do know that it’s hugely popular because it is convenient.  Okay?  It can also be hacked.  It can also be corrupted in a lot of different ways.  I don’t want to go into that, but who makes the determination, because if I’m in London, and I go, “you know what, I forgot to vote!  So, now I want to do this via internet, I want to download my ballot, do it that way, because, you know, I just forgot.”  Who makes a determination as to whether or not it is feasible for somebody to vote regularly, or via this quote-unquote “email thing”?

WILLIAMS:  So, it is a good question.  And the statute said – in the 2011 statute –the Secretary of State would define what “available” and “feasible” mean.  Um, no regulation had been adopted with respect to that at the time that I took office. And so, the regulations that — a preliminary draft was released. And a—the—a new draft was released yesterday to make an attempt to define what is for “available and feasible”.  And Ken, we’ve withdrawn the line as to say it’s that individual that makes that call.  In part because I don’t know what obstacles a military member might be facing.  And what I would not want is a bureaucrat here in Colorado making the decision to disqualify a military member’s vote, like there was the attempt to do in Florida in 2000.

CLARK:  Let me – and just to give you some background, as far as what was going on in the 2000 elections.  I was part of the conference calls with then Governor G.W. Bush and the rest of the Republican governors, when we were trying to figure out strategy.  While all that hanging chad scenario was going on, I was part of that group, and we were trying to figure out what to do.  Now, I wasn’t the guy, by any stretch of the imagination, but I was heavily involved.  And so, I thought that you should know that I do have a massive amount of background on that. And uh, we were trying to stop the left from stealing that election.  But, that being said, so, you have decided that the individual makes that call.  Now, is that blanket, or is that strictly for military?

WILLIAMS:  It is military and overseas voting.  Now, these are the only people it applies for.  It does not apply for the million plus folks who are not in the category.

CLARK:  No, no, no!  You say “military and folks that are overseas.”  So, that means anyone, basically, who just happens to be out of the country.  Is that right?

WILLIAMS:  So, in the last – in the 2014 general, it meant 6,817 people out of two million votes in Colorado.  So, you’re – so–.

CLARK:  But to answer my question –

WILLIAMS:  Anyone who is overseas –

CLARK:  Anyone!

WILLIAMS:  Yes, I have already said that.  –has the ability to take advantage of the provisions of this law.

CLARK:  Okay. So it’s not –so it’s much broader than just military. It’s pretty much any citizen out there, with –. Okay. And that amounted to 6,000 people.

WILLIAMS:  Six thousand, eight hundred and seventeen, in the 2014 general.  So, the one we just held, about two million votes, and 6,800 of them were UOCAVA votes.  Of those, less than half –3,079–were returned through electronic means.

CLARK:  Let’s go to break real quick, and when we come back, I have this question: How do you verify that ballot to be valid?

WILLIAMS:  Excellent question.  Happy to deal with that.


[commercial break]

CLARK:  […] How do you verify the electronically transmitted ballots that are coming through?  We also have Senator Kevin Lundberg who is on hold.  We’re going to bring him on in just a second, but I wanted to give you the opportunity to, real quick, answer that question: How do you verify – because we all know emails can be hacked – how do you verify this?

WILLIAMS:  Well, anything can be hacked.  Your mailbox can be hacked.  Certainly, there are Social Security checks stolen out of mailboxes every day.  So, there are issues with any type of transmission.  So, you have to have something to ensure that it actually is that person.  And this is what happens with respect to all federal and state elections.  That individual has to sign the ballot, and that signature is compared to the signature on file.  If the individual’s signature does not match, they’re sent a letter.  That’s the same thing that happens with all mail-in ballots in Colorado. To give you an idea of the magnitude, Ken, in the last election, there were 8,000 ballots that were not counted because the signature did not match.  And after the individual got the letter, they did not respond that it was their ballot, with the information necessary.  There were 2,000 ballots that were turned in that had no signature at all.  So there were 10,000 attempts to cast a ballot that were not counted, because they either had no signature or a signature that did not match and the person did not respond when they received the letter from the Clerk and Recorder.  We do the same thing with military ballots.  So, a couple years ago, I got a call from then-Councilman […] Bernie Herpin, telling me that his son’s ballot had not been counted.  He had gotten this same letter. My daughter got this letter in the last election, telling her her signature did not match and she called me up saying, “Dad, why didn’t you count my ballot?”  And I said, “Because the signature didn’t match. Send in the information necessary.”  Senator Herpin’s son did.  My daughter did.

CLARK:  All right.  I wanted to bring […]  Senator Lundberg to chime in on this.  Senator Lundberg, you’ve been working on this issue for quite some time.  What’s your take on it?

CO STATE SENATOR KEVIN LUNDBERG:  Well, yes, I have.  As a matter of fact, I was there back in 2006 when the initial language that’s beed cited was first put into statute, and that is that internet voting – or, as I believe it’s called, ‘electronic transmission’—is allowed only in the extreme circumstance where there is no other alternative.  And the language was “when mail ballot is not available or feasible”, and – I’m translating, but that word ‘feasible’ is a very key phrase – or word, I should say – because I can tell you, having been there in that initial committee with that language –.  And by the way, that was in 2006.  When the law was changed in 2011, that language was moved over without any change, and there was no intent to change the meaning of those phrases, either.  And here’s the point: it needs to be the exception not the rule.  And the Secretary has already stated that of those who qualify to vote on the internet – and I would call it ‘internet voting’, because it’s actually – this is the way you notify the clerk that you want to do this, they give you a link that you go to a third party vendor, and this is how the County Clerks handle it.  And there, your ballot — you go online to that vendor and you vote the ballot.  But what they do is to send you a PDF back.  And that is already voted.  It’s not a PDF of a blank ballot, it’s your voted ballot.  And then you email that back to the Clerk’s office, who then transmits it. All of that was meant to be only in the rare exception where there is no other alternative.  And the concern I have, is that we are now seeing a practice that makes it the rule, rather than the exception.

CLARK:  Senator – Senator, I wanted to give – we’re a little bit short on time.  I wanted to get the Secretary of State a chance to respond to that.

WILLIAMS: So, an important element that the Senator didn’t mention in that process, is once the person prints it out they sign that ballot.  And that’s the key part that makes this very different from internet voting, because there is that person’s ‘wet’ signature, meaning their actual penned ink.  Not the ‘Accept’ button, but an actual signature that takes place on that ballot, — or on the envelope for that ballot—and that is absolutely critical or it does not count.

CLARK:  Senator?

LUNDBERG:  Well, or you will electronically attach it to the PDF, which many people are quite capable of, as well. But, that’s not really the point of internet voting, as to whether or not you put your signature. And I – we’d have a whole long discussion on that.

WILLIAMS:  We didn’t — not internet voting.

LUNDBERG:  [chuckling, skeptically] Well, if I’m using the internet to transmit both the voted ballot to me and then the voted ballot to the Clerk’s office, I’m using the internet to vote with.

WILLIAMS:  The — Internet voting is actually prohibited under our regulations.  That’s in the revision that came out yesterday.  Internet voting is where that ballot is actually cast into it.  And I will note that there are some municipalities that have used actual internet voting, in this instance, but that is not allowed by our Secretary of State rules, or by state law for state elections.

CLARK:  Senator?

LUNDBERG: I’d simply say, I’d like to see this the rare exception, which is what legislative intent is.  And it does trouble me that the Secretary of State’s office seems to be doing everything they can to make it the rule.  And I want the military to have access to voting at all times, but I want them to have access and chose the most reliable—not the most immediately convenient.  I want votes to count and be rock solid sure that they are that person voting.  And many of us are not convinced that voting on the internet –

CLARK:  Senator, thank you for calling in.  What that music means, we are up against a hard break.  Thank you for calling into Freedom 560.  We’ll be right back, right after this!

[commercial break]

CLARK:  […] During the last half hour, I’ve had Secretary of State Wayne Williams in-studio.  Senator Kevin Lundberg called in, and the conversation that we were having was about this quote-unquote “transmission only”, as far as people who are overseas being able to email their ballot in. Now, the way it was explained to me by the Secretary of State was, that they could download their ballot, fill it out, then sign it, upload it to a PDF and then email it back in. And Wayne Williams, Secretary of State, is still in-studio with me and I wanted to give him a chance to respond to this.  Because something Senator Lundberg brought up was that you go to a third party vendor, you vote online, then you print off the ballot, sign it, and then email it back.  And so, the idea – and the way that I think – and correct me if I’m wrong.  I’m going to give you a chance to respond to all this.   So, I’m throwing a lot at you, I get that. All right?

WILLIAMS: [laughs]

CLARK:  But the way I understood it, was, you had said, you download your ballot.  Then you vote it and sign it. Then you upload it, or scan it – whatever, and then email it back in.  And we were talking strictly about transmission.  Now, according to Senator Lundberg, you go to a third party website, you vote online, then print it off and then sign it, and then re-upload it –okay?—and then email it back. However, we do know that you can electronically sign things.  I mean, that is a socially accepted way to do documents today.  You can electronically sign documents in this day and age.  And so Senator Lundberg has got a good point:  how do you protect that from being hacked?  Because the idea behind it was, this would only be used in extreme circumstances.  Now, it seems like everyone and their mother, including me, can use this.  What say you, sir? I wanted to give you a chance to respond.

WILLIAMS:  […] I’ll be quick.  I appreciate Senator Lundberg’s comments.  In 2011, there was a change to the statute. It gave the Secretary of the State the direction to define what ‘feasible’ and what “available” meant.  So, it’s not–.

CLARK:  So, why don’t you tighten up that definition?

WILLIAMS:  So, it’s not only “extreme”.  But what we did do in the draft regulations, is that we actually had the person sign an affirmation that this was the way that was – that no other way was “available” or “feasible”.  […]  But for the first time, we are having them actually sign a statement that that was indeed the way that was available.

CLARK:  I have to ask this question:   Does that mean, the same kind of affirmation that we now have – same-day voter registration, when people come in and say, “Yes. I do intend to live in this particular district.”?

WILLIAMS:  It is an affirmation.  It is up to that individual to do that.  But the choice is, who is going to make that call?  Is it going to be a bureaucrat sitting here, or the soldier on the front lines in Afghanistan?  And for me, that’s an important question, because if you say a bureaucrat gets to throw out your vote because they didn’t think you exercised all of the correct principles that you should have done, and you shouldn’t have procrastinated, and by golly, we’re going to disqualify your vote – which is exactly what they tried to do in Florida–.

CLARK:  Yeah, I remember.

WILLIAMS:  –I think that’s a problem. So, in a choice of, “Who do I trust?”–.

CLARK: Well, but here’s the rub, though.  And this is for me, personally. And I don’t want to – this is for me, personally. When you talk about military, I’m saying, “You know what? Okay!”

WILLIAMS: The law does not distinguish between them.

CLARK:  But when you’re talking about somebody like me, I’m saying, “I’m a citizen!  I know I’m going to be out there. It’s my choice.  The military men and women don’t necessarily have that choice.  But for me, you know, –.

WILLIAMS:  The law adopted by the legislature treats the overseas citizen and the military service member abroad the same way.  And as you know, a lot of those citizens [who are] abroad are military contractors, former military who have gone back, are working for one of the DOD contractors overseas, as well.  At least, they are, from my community, in Colorado Springs.  So, the issue is how do you make that?  We have tried to do it by defining ‘feasible’  and by making that person sign an affirmation, which they’ve never had to do before. We’re trying to make it as secure as we can.  There is no perfect system.  It would be great, in terms of security – everyone comes in, presents a Department of Revenue drivers’ license or state issued I.D. that you could instantly pull up in the database and check. But there is no way the submariner can do that.  And so we have to have provisions for that.  We are trying to draw what the reasonable line is.  We have just released revised rules for comment.  You can go to and make your comments on the revised rules that were released yesterday. We want to get public input. And that’s why I’m on your show–.

CLARK:  Say that website one more time.

WILLIAMS:  […] We have already made a number of revisions of the rules based on comments received in the initial round. I value that public comment, Ken. That’s why I’m on your show today, because I want to have people have the opportunity to provide to us their input, and I appreciate very much your willingness to let us have this dialogue today.