How a Dungeons & Dragons gadget helps keep Colorado elections secure

    BRIEF

    Officials with the Colorado secretary of state's office rolled dice on July 10, 2020, to determine a random seed for a risk-limiting elections audit. (screenshot via Zoom)

    Officials with the Colorado secretary of state’s office began a process on Friday aimed at verifying vote counts in last month’s primary elections.

    And they did it by rolling dice.

    Staffers rolled a series of 20 10-sided dice during a public webcast to generate a 20-digit random number that will be used to determine which ballots county elections officials select for a manual count, checking for any discrepancies with machine-tallied election results. The process is part of the secretary of state’s “risk-limiting audit,” which has been conducted on a statewide basis in every election since 2017.

    At least three other states have followed Colorado in requiring risk-limiting audits, while others allow them at the local level, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

    Secretary of State Jena Griswold said ahead of the random-number drawing that the process is part of what makes Colorado “the safest state to cast a ballot in today.” In recent months, Griswold has been outspoken against Republican critics of Colorado’s mail-in ballot system, including President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims that mail-in voting is susceptible to fraud.

    “Voter-verified paper ballots, combined with risk-limiting audits post-election, help verify our election outcomes and instill voters with the confidence that our elections are secure and run with integrity,” Griswold said Friday.

    The random number generated by the dice rolls is 11876677954665453986.

    The rolls were made with the help of a dice tower, a device used in table-top role-playing games to ensure that the rolls are random.

    “Very exciting dice roll — it may have been facilitated by a Dungeons & Dragons tool,” Griswold joked. “I can neither confirm nor deny that.”