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Colorado Selects Free & Fair to Develop Software Tools for First Statewide Implementation of Risk-Limiting Post-Election Audits

Free & Fair, a startup developing transparent, cyber secure and verifiable elections systems, today announced it has been selected by the State of Colorado to develop a high-assurance, open source software system to help state and local officials implement risk-limiting post-election audits.

A risk-limiting audit (RLA) is an evidence-based method that checks the integrity of election outcomes by comparing a random sampling of paper ballots to their corresponding digital versions. Colorado is the first U.S. state to require RLAs on a regular basis, starting with the November 2017 off-year election.

RLAs are better and more efficient than the random post-election audits they will replace in Colorado, because they generally require a smaller number of ballots to be audited but still provide a much higher statistical probability that the outcome is correct. At the same time, election experts also consider RLAs an essential component of a secure election process that can protect against both inadvertent tabulation errors and malicious cyberattacks.

Supporting Quotes:
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams
“Over the past decade, in academic journals and elsewhere, a large number of accomplished political scientists, statisticians and election integrity activists have advocated the theory and benefits of risk-limiting tabulation audits. In simple terms, and with a high level of statistical probability that has never existed before, RLAs will ‘limit the risk’ that Colorado or any of its counties will certify official election results if the outcome is not correct.”

Neal McBurnett, nationally recognized expert on implementation of election audits and a member of the Free & Fair implementation team
“Colorado has been a pioneer in moving election audits forward since 2004, and risk-limiting audits represent the most innovative work on the planet on efficient tabulation audits.”

Dr. Joseph Kiniry, Free & Fair CEO and internationally recognized security expert
“Colorado’s leadership in elections auditing should be a beacon for the rest of America, and we look forward to seeing risk-limiting audits deployed in the other 49 states. And because the new RLA software system will be open source, other jurisdictions around the country will be able to use it at low cost to audit their own election results.”

Ron Rivest, world-renowned cryptographer and Turing Prize winner
"Using paper ballots, ensuring effective chain of custody of those paper ballots, and confirming the correctness of election outcomes with statistical post-election audits are among the very best tools we have for securing our elections."

About Free & Fair

Free & Fair’s mission is to bring open source, high-assurance elections to the world. Based in Portland, Oregon, Free & Fair provides elections services and systems meeting higher reliability and security standards than the US federal government demands for national security.

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