Is your vote safe? (The Valdosta Daily Times)
By John Stephen firstname.lastname@example.org 21 hrs ago
KENNESAW, Ga. (Nov 2, 2016) — Touch the screen, cast the ballot. Then what?
The topic of rigged elections has come up repeatedly in recent weeks as Donald Trump and many of his supporters have suggested the presidential race is unfair and potentially fraudulent.
But how possible is it to actually tamper with votes once they are cast? Merle King, executive director of the Center for Election Systems at Kennesaw State University, said this week it’s all but impossible.
According to King, around 90 percent of ballots in Georgia are submitted through touch screens, called Direct Recording Electronic devices, that are not connected to the internet. Once a vote is cast, it is captured on a memory card, and a copy is also stored internally in the DRE in case the memory card is lost or stolen.
At the end of each day during early voting, the elections office records how many votes were cast on each DRE, and the DRE is then locked until it’s used the next day. The memory cards stay inside the DREs until polls close on Election Day (Nov. 8). The DREs are sealed in such a way that any tampering would be immediately noticeable, King said.
It is illegal for a poll worker to view or process votes before polls close on Election Day, and King said any such attempt would be recorded digitally.
“It would be impossible to disguise an upload that started before 7 p.m. or before the close of polls,” King said.
When polls close on Election Day, the memory cards containing votes from all the precincts will be secured in a bag — along with paper records from each DRE — and transported by two poll workers to the county elections office.
“When the DREs are shut down in each precinct, there have to be three witnesses who all sign the tape and the paperwork that attest to correct handling [of the votes],” King said.
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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the second-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 126 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.