As the Nov. 6 midterm election approaches and with early voting well underway, the Delaware County Board of Elections has implemented a new layer of security to protect the data of almost 142,000 registered voters in the county from being hacked.
The latest layer requires staff to scan a barcode on the back of their ID badge to access the system.
“Before, we only required a username and password to get in,” said Anthony Saadey, deputy director. “Now there is a two-part verification that is required. In addition to the password, everyone here has their own unique barcode on the back of their ID badge.”
Saadey said the new measure was brought online in September.
“You have to be in the office,” said Board of Elections Director Karla Herron. “Even if you’re a seasonal worker, everyone has a scanner at their desk and all three — username, password and barcode — have to match to enter into voter registration.”
Herron said the additional layer of security had been mandated by the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office earlier this year.
Saadey added all the board’s voter registration information is hosted by Triad Governmental Systems Inc. in Xenia, Ohio, and not by the county’s Data Center. He said voters can still check their individual information on the board’s web page.
“It’s all public record. There isn’t anything that isn’t public record that we upload,” Herron said. “We understand it can’t be changed and from my understanding, the security is very tight on the website.”
If the website was hacked, Herron said, “It’s not connected to our data.”
“We upload the information to the website,” she added.
Saadey said other layers of security include a sign-in sheet and a hand scanner 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.
Saadey said every morning, a team consisting of a Democrat and Republican reconcile the absentee ballots with the voting machine count, making sure the numbers match. He said there have been 15,000 requests for absentee ballots so far in this election cycle.
“This is in line with what we did for the presidential (election),” he said. “We did around 20,000 mail for the presidential (election). It was pretty much split, 20,000 from the mail and 20,000 in person, and we’re already at 15,000.”
Saadey said the board received 700 online voter registrations before the Oct. 9 midnight deadline.
“I think this is going to be busy,” he said.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.