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Fact check: Dominion voting machines in Colorado performed properly during 2022 primary recount – USA TODAY

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The claim: Dominion voting machines failed in a Colorado recount

In June, Mesa County clerk Tina Peters lost her bid to become the Republican nominee for secretary of state, but soon after the primary in Colorado, she requested a recount and paid the state the necessary fees to conduct one.

Once the recount process was underway, Peters – who has previously spread election misinformation – denounced some Dominion voting machines that were being tested, and singled out those in El Paso County. 

“Today, the machine tabulated recount ordered by Secretary of State Jena Griswold failed the Logic and Accuracy Test (LAT), with Dominion employees present, in a spectacular fashion with over a 50% error rate out of the 4,000+ ballots tested, she said in a news release, according to the Denver Post.

A July 29 Facebook post by Peggy Hubbard – who ran unsuccessfully in the Illinois Republican primary for U.S. Senate – made the same claim about the El Paso County machines.

“L&A testing for the Tina Peters recount! 4,000 ballots ran in test 2,200 ballots registered in the system,” the post reads. “Showing a 50% failure rate and FALSE return results. This recount was done while Dominion’s people were on site.”

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The post generated almost 3,400 interactions in less than a week. A July 29 Gateway Pundit article shared to Facebook also claimed a “major discrepancy reported with logic and accuracy testing” in voting machines at El Paso County. Similar posts have amassed hundreds of interactions on Facebook and Twitter.

But the claim is baseless.

The voting machines tested in the county passed with 100% accuracy, according to a spokesperson for the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s office. The system correctly read more than 4,000 ballots, and the tests showed that it properly flagged ballots that needed additional review. After the tests, the county conducted a recount of votes, and the outcome of the primary was unchanged. 

USA TODAY reached out to Peters and other social media users who shared the claim for comment. Hubbard did not provide any evidence to support the claim.

Machines did not fail test

Before any recount can begin, Colorado law requires election equipment to undergo a so-called logic and accuracy test.

These tests are conducted by running ballots with known votes through the machines and checking whether the system read them correctly, according to Philip Stark, an election integrity expert at the University of California, Berkeley.

The logic and accuracy test for the recount requested by Peters began on July 29 and ended on July 30. El Paso’s seven machines underwent the tests and all passed with 100% accuracy, Chuck Broerman, the El Paso county clerk and recorder, told USA TODAY.

El Paso officials used 4,200 ballots exercising every possible combination of votes that could be cast for candidates in the Colorado June 2022 primary to test whether the system put each ballot in the right bin bucket, Broerman said.

Of this deck, 2,266 test ballots contained undervotes – blank responses for different races – “to fully test the fidelity of the voting equipment,” Kristi Ridlen, a spokesperson for the office, told USA TODAY in an email.

The system successfully flagged the 2,266 ballots that contained these undervotes, which would have triggered sending them to bipartisan teams consisting of one Democrat and one Republican for additional review. This review is part of a process known as adjudication, and it is required by the state’s recount rules, according to Ridlen.

“These ballots did not fail in the system and claims of such are false,” Ridlen said. “This is not an error condition, rather (it) allows humans (to) review each of those ballots to ensure there was not an intent to vote (in) a race where the machine determined it was unmarked. Any undervote must be reviewed by bipartisan teams.”

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Barry Burden, director of the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the situation is not a case of Dominion voting machines failing. It demonstrates that the machines read the ballots as election officials intended and that they are ready to count ballots marked by real voters, he said.

Broerman agreed, noting that the machines performed appropriately.

“The machines were never in an error state, never in an error condition,” he said. “That is blatantly false. When a machine does something like it’s supposed to do, that’s not an error. That’s the function of the machine. That’s the function of the test.”

The equipment in Colorado, including El Pasco County, has passed more than 1,000 tests since 2016, according to Broerman.

On Aug. 3, El Paso County completed a recount of Republican primary votes, which included votes for Peter Lupia, candidate for county clerk and recorder, Rae Ann Weber, candidate for county coroner, Lynda Zamora Wilson, candidate for state senate, and Peters.

“The recount did not alter the outcome for any of these races,” the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s office said in a press release. “The minimal changes noted below are attributed to the extra level of scrutiny and review relating to undervotes, as required by Colorado Recount Law. This is not attributed to the operation of the election equipment.”

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In the recount, Peters gained one vote while each of her opponents, gained two votes, and the outcome of the primary did not change, the press release also said. 

The Associated Press, Lead Stories and The Dispatch Fact Check also debunked the claim. 

USA TODAY has previously debunked claims regarding Dominion voting machines, including baseless assertions that a judge ruled Dominion machines were designed to create fraud and that Dominion Voting Systems deleted votes for Donald Trump and switched votes to Joe Biden in 2020.

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that Dominion voting machines failed in a Colorado recount. The machines in question were tested before the recount began, and they performed with 100% accuracy, according to election officials. In addition, during testing, the Dominion Voting System correctly identified votes that would have needed additional review, and experts said, by flagging these votes, the system demonstrated that it was functioning properly. 

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