How Do Elections Officials Secure Your Vote? - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

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How Do Elections Officials Secure Your Vote?

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    How Do Elections Officials Secure Your Vote?

    The 2018 election carried over concerns from 2016 about hacking and meddling. (Published Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018)

    With a month before the midterms, poll workers are starting their training to make sure elections run smoothly. In fast-growing Collin County, there are 100,000 more voters registered for this mid-term election than the last one four years ago.

    Much of that increase is due to the population growth in Collin County, but voters are also energized in with competitive races, including the one between incumbent U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and his challenger, U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso).

    “I don’t have to tell you this election is going to be one like you haven’t seen in a while,” said Collin County Elections Administrator Bruce Sherbet as he greeted a new crop of election workers who arrived for training on Wednesday afternoon.

    “We're paying more attention to the voting process and those we're voting for,” said Delois Johnson.

    Johnson, a first time poll worker, held a thick manual in her hands as she listened to the training.

    “It's a lot to learn, it's a lot to take in,” said Johnson. “You really have to pay close attention to all the details.”

    The 2018 election also carried over concerns from 2016 about hacking and meddling.

    Sherbet says he’s confident in the security of electronic voting machines. Though they don’t provide a paper record of a vote if there is a problem, Sherbet explains the risk is mitigated by machines that are not connected to the internet when votes are cast or counted.

    “They're not able to go directly from wherever you are, remotely, into a voting system,” explained Sherbet. “The counting systems that count them are also air gapped to where you can't get into them. They don’t have lines going out, they’re independent freestanding systems.”

    Sherbet says the vulnerabilities are in the voter registration system, but adds the state has added more safeguards.

    The Secretary of State's Office has added multi-step verification for officials to access the voter registration system and installed sensors for suspicious cyber-activity.

    E-poll booked, used by election workers to digitally check-in voters at the polls, may be another vulnerability. Though Sherbet says if there is a problem, officials are prepared to run an off-line backup system.

    “I don't have any great fears about this. We are cautious to make sure we are ready if there were to be something that happens, that we can act swiftly and not impact the voting process,” said Sherbet.

    “All eyes are on it. Everyone I know is taking it very seriously,” added Sherbet. “This is a precious right that we have and we don’t want any problems.”

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