When election time rolls around the Delaware County Board of Elections takes pride on the strict security measures undertaken to protect against potential machine tampering and voter fraud.
“It would take so many people at so many different stages to do something,” said Karla Herron, director of the Board of Elections. “It’s virtually impossible unless you have a lot of layers.”
The example Herron gave for the possibility of anyone tampering with a machine was straight out of the movies. “The room would have to be gassed for anything to happen,” she said. “Security is tighter than a bank.”
The General Election is Nov. 8.
“It would have to be like an Oceans 11 or a James Bond thing,” said Anthony Saadey, an elections support specialist.
Ohio’s voting machines are not connected to the internet to prevent online tampering. “Ohio by law is not allowed to be online,” Herron said. “Nothing talks to each other, it’s all self contained.”
There are bio-scanners at the doors of the tabulation room where the votes are counted and the storage area for the voting machines. Both doors are only able to be unlocked after two peoples’ hands are scanned, one Republican and one Democrat.
“Some states have board of elections run by only one party,” Herron said.
“Everyone has a counter part of the opposite party and everything is done as a team,” Herron said. “There is also a register to each room that must be signed in and signed out on.”
She said, the board has 714 machines that are first calibrated, checked and double checked before they are programed with ballots. Herron said the most common mistake she hears around the state is the touch screens are marking the wrong candidate because it wasn’t calibrated correctly. “We calibrate the screens before every election,” she said.
Herron said each machine has a chain of custody that must be strictly followed. Anytime something is done to the machine it is recorded. “There is a strict chain of custody that is followed,” she said. “The chain of custody for each action is never broken.”
Herron said the 714 machines have built in back up redundancies of auto logs, flash drives and paper readouts for real time readouts. “The paper readouts are used for recounts,” she said.
Once the machines are programed with the ballot of the precinct they are going to, they are sealed with a tamper proof seal that says “opened-void” when pulled from the machine.
Herron said she told her team to enjoy the Labor Day weekend because it’s about to get busy at their office until December. “We’re ready, but it’s going to be wild,” she said.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.