Let's Talk about Safe and Secure Elections
For 35 years I enforced the law, retiring as a Major for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. So when you ask me, as your Supervisor of Elections, about election security, I have a unique perspective. Generally, people are concerned about two things:
Can we be sure that only eligible voters can vote, and only vote once?
Can we trust that the reported results are accurate?
The answer is yes, and yes. As you read my top ten reasons why, keep in mind that these safeguards are established in law and in place in all 67 counties in Florida.
Unfortunately, fear and suspicion can be as dangerous to our democracy as a compromised election. I am doing everything I can to give our community confidence in our election process. After three decades in law enforcement, my commitment to integrity and compliance has never wavered, and I am focused every day on ensuring that Hillsborough County’s elections are safe and secure.
Top Ten Reasons Your Vote is Safe and Secure
|Registration and Voting
|1. The Florida Division of Elections checks each voter registration application to verify the applicant’s identity, and works with other agencies to identify deceased voters and felons who are ineligible to vote.
2. Voters show photo and signature identification to vote.
3. We update voter records electronically to record when a voter has requested a mail ballot or voted. If someone comes to vote in person, we immediately cancel their mail ballot. And vice versa.
4. Voters can vote a provisional ballot if there’s a question about their eligibility.
|Tabulation and Tampering
|5. Our state-certified equipment is tested before each election with a public logic and accuracy test to make sure machines are counting votes correctly. During this test, we put pre-marked ballots in a randomly selected sample of our machines to make sure the count is what it’s supposed to be and that every position on the ballot is being read by each machine.
6. Our ballots and equipment are under 24-hour camera surveillance and stored in areas with restricted key card access until they are deployed for voting. During voting, our ballot scanners are kept in plain sight, secured with seals to prohibit tampering.
7. Our voter registration system is not connected to our tabulation system. We use a stand-alone server, not connected to the Internet, to tabulate and report results.
8. Electronic results from each ballot scanner are encrypted and backed up by paper results tapes that are posted on the doors of each polling place and driven to our central office. We double check our initial results against these tapes.
9. We vote on hand-marked, paper ballots that are held for 22 months and can be re-scanned if there is a problem with the equipment or question about results.
10. Every Florida county conducts a manual or electronic post-election audit. We audit 100% of our ballots by digitally scanning them through an independent system to verify our results.