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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida election officials answer talk of 'rigged or 'hacked' vote



Donald Trump is warning Americans that the election might be "rigged." News accounts ask whether it's possible to hack the election results the way hackers penetrated the Democratic Party's email server.

In response, Florida election supervisors on Monday issued a rare "open letter" to reassure voters in the nation's biggest battleground state that safeguards are in place to prevent that from happening.

The letter was authored by Clay County Supervisor Chris Chambless, president of a statewide association of supervisors. He emphasized that because Florida is a "paper ballot" state, it has a built-in paper trail of every voter's decisions. He also said the electronic parts of the system are not on the Internet and do not connect with each other online.

An excerpt from the letter:

"Recently there have been several stories regarding potential vulnerabilities of U.S. voting systems to cyberattacks. This issue is a matter of national security, however it is important to note that there is no indication from federal law enforcement (security agencies, U.S. Dept. of Justice) to state election officials that any credible threat currently exists when it comes to the issue of hacking elections. While the security of voting systems is a top priority for election professionals across the state of Florida, recent enhancements to Florida voting systems have dramatically reduced exposures to hacking elections.

"At the core of the security of Florida voting systems is the fact that we are a paper ballot state. Florida law mandates that 'all voting' be by marksense ballot (with the temporary exception of voters with disabilities who may use DRE (Touch Screen) voting until 2020).

"Should any disruption or corruption in the transmission of vote totals occur, we can always refer to the original paper ballot.

"Electronic voting systems are not Internet-based and do not connect to each other online (closed network). Prior to each election, a public Logic and Accuracy test is conducted of each voting tabulator and tabulation system to ensure that they are working and tabulating properly. The individual thumb drives that record the votes from the precincts, early voting sites and vote by mail central count tabulators are digitally signed and secured. They cannot be replaced by any commercial off the shelf (COTS) thumb drive to subvert the local process of counting ballots."

The letter is here.


[Last modified: Monday, August 8, 2016 4:04pm]


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