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The Aspen Public Radio Newsroom has chosen to focus on four specific issues for our election coverage: the COVID-19 pandemic, social justice/representation, climate change and land use/management.These issues were among the most important to voters, according to a Pew Research poll in August 2020. We also chose them because they are important to people who live in the Roaring Fork Valley. That’s especially true as many have seen the economy, and their livelihoods, take a hit because of the pandemic, the growing Latino population in the region hasn’t had someone from their community holding a countywide governmental office, wildfires have been ferocious this season in the state, and the oil and gas industry employs many people.Our central question while reporting this series was “What Can I Expect From My Government?” We set out to find a diverse group of people who could tell us their answers to that question.Our election series is scheduled for Oct. 20-23. You'll be able to hear the stories during Morning Edition and All Things Considered. All our content will also be available here. Many of the other stories you’ll find here are from our reporting partners. We wanted to provide information about Colorado's key ballot initiatives and races, and also share details about how you can take part in this historic election year.

False Election Fraud Theory Targets Denver-Based Company

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A voting machine company based in the Mountain West has become the center of an unfounded conspiracy theory propagated by the president intended to shed doubt on the presidential election.

Dominion Voting Systems has its U.S. headquarters in Denver. Its machines were used in a number of states this election including Michigan and Georgia, where the Trump administration is contesting the results. Part of the unsubstantiated theory claims the machines switched a significant number of votes from President Trump to President-elect Joe Biden.

The federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security agency says this just isn’t true, and issued a statement that said, "There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised."

The Trump administration has since firedthe director of that agency, Christopher Krebs, after he personally vouched for the election’s security.

While there were some clerical errors with voting machines, there has been no evidence of wide-spread voter fraud, and Dominion recently created a webpage to refute the conspiracies tied to its company.

Douglas Jones, a computer science professor at the University of Iowa, says these claims feed into a deeper and even more absurd conspiracy involving a CIA supercomputer called Hammer and an application called Scorecard intervening in the election.

“I don’t know of any state where things are conducted far enough behind closed doors to allow large-scale intervention by such a computer,” Jones said.

Beyond that, he says the Hammer Scorecard conspiracy has been around for a long while.

“The oldest cropping up of this conspiracy theory suggests that this is an obsolete super computer, not merely a super computer, because it appears to have been around for a decade,” he said, laughing. “And yet, we’re supposed to be scared of it.”

Alison Dagnes, a political science professor at Shippensburg University, says the falsehood about Dominion is part of a larger wave of misinformation.

“It doesn’t necessarily mandate you believe in one specific mistruth. It just makes you really doubt everything," Dagnes said. "And so when people don’t believe in anything, and when they think they’re being lied to that much, it really opens the door for more misinformation to come in.”

Dagnes says it’s something that may only be healed when leadership and citizens agree that the division in the nation right now is toxic and that there are singular facts to agree on.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Copyright 2021 Boise State Public Radio News. To see more, visit Boise State Public Radio News.

I’m the Mountain West News Bureau reporter at Boise State Public Radio. That means I work with reporters and NPR stations around the region to cover Mountain West issues like public lands, influential court cases and the environment, among many other things.
Madelyn Beck is Boise State Public Radio's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau. She's from Montana but has reported everywhere from North Dakota to Alaska to Washington, D.C. Her last few positions included covering energy resources in Wyoming and reporting on agriculture/rural life issues in Illinois.