Voting machines, voter check-in systems and procedures to make sure people don’t vote more than once are in place for the coming election, local officials said Friday.
Meanwhile, incidents of voter fraud are rare, and those incidents were detected by officials in previous elections, officials said.
Daviess County Clerk Leslie McCarty said safeguards are in place to make sure voting machines can’t be hacked during the election, and there are back-ups to ensure the vote tally is correct.
“I think all 120 counties are doing a great job of keeping integrity” in the coming election, she said.
Clerks’ offices have received E-poll books for voter check in, which track when a person has voted. Those devices communicate with each other through a secure state network so a person can’t vote at a voting center and then attempt to vote at another, McCarty said.
“As soon as you check in on the E-poll book, within a couple of minutes it will talk to the other E-poll books,” McCarty said. If a person who has voted attempts to vote at another site, “it will stop you.”
Hancock County Clerk Trina Ogle said voting machines are kept locked away and secure between elections.
“We store them in our former jail,” Ogle said. “It’s pretty secure in our jail.”
Voting machines can’t be hacked because they are not connected to the internet, Ogle said. In Hancock County, all voting machines — except for the machines that are compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act — use paper ballots, so there is a way to check machine vote tallies against ballots.
Attempting to tamper with a voting machine is a felony, McCarty said. Paper ballots are the norm statewide, she said. Daviess County’s ADA-compliant machines are newer models that have paper ballots.
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The ballots themselves are accounted for, and ballots that are mismarked by a voter are returned to poll workers, so they aren’t counted, McCarty said. Vote totals from each machine are stored in flash drives inside the machines and are delivered to the clerks’ office after polls close by two election workers, a Democrat and a Republican.
Voters that receive absentee ballots are marked by the E-poll books.
“When we scan your (driver) license in the E-poll, it will tell us if you had an absentee ballot mailed to you,” McCarty said. A person who received an absentee ballot would have to vote using that ballot, she said.
There will be only one absentee ballot drop-off box in Daviess County, at the clerk’s office in the county courthouse.
The last day to request an absentee ballot through the Secretary of State’s portal is Tuesday, Oct. 25. The portal is at: govote.ky.gov.
Absentee ballots are also tracked through bar codes on the envelopes, McCarty said.
Beginning on the day after the election, county clerks will have to keep voting machines under video surveillance. McCarty said the voting machine warehouse has five surveillance cameras, and Ogle said the Hancock office is in the process of installing cameras.
“I think the Secretary of State’s office has done a great job of guarding election procedures,” Ogle said.
Michon Lindstrom, director of communications for Secretary of State Michael Adam’s office, said poll workers are trained to look for irregularities.
“In poll worker training, they let them know what to watch out for,” Lindstrom said.