How Safe and Secure Is Our Voting System?

By: Kate Eckman
By: Kate Eckman

For several weeks, Bay County Elections Supervisor Mark Andersen has run test after test on the voting machine that will be used during Tuesday's general election.

So far everything has checked out fine, but many experts are wondering if optical scan and touch screen voting machines have left the nation's voting process vulnerable to computer fraud.

Some voters are somewhat skeptical about voting security after several recent episodes of computer hacking.

Michael Hanlon said, "I don't believe it's safe and secure, but as my civic duty, I must vote."

Grace Moseley added, "You are having so much hacking going on and what have you, And so we really don't feel that safe anymore, basically, around anything, to be truthful. It's always a chance we have to take."

Experts say the new electronic voting systems that will be used in Tuesday's general election may be vulnerable to hackers and present other security problems, but Andersen says voters in Bay County have nothing to worry about.

Mark Andersen, Bay County Elections Supervisor, said, "We'll take the action necessary to ensure that everything is perfect before we ever begin the election, or do anything with the equipment that someone may have touched.”

Andersen says he's not worried about his voting machines being hacked into.

"All of the system is encrypted. You would have to go through three or four different levels of failure before you would get that level that people are talking about."

And if there is an instance of hacking?

"If anyone in Bay County touches any of my voting equipment, they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent."

Andersen says his staff has taken every precaution possible to prevent tampering. Every machine goes out with seals on them. They're all numbered and documented. If someone does try to alter a machine, election officials will know about it.

"Tomorrow is the end of the major security process. We started from birth of the election and now we're giving birth to the election process, and democracy will shine tomorrow, and you will find out that everything did go very well, and things are where they should be, and voters can have confidence in the system."

Most people will vote on the optical scan machines, but there will be at least one touch screen machine in all of Bay County's precincts.


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