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Voting officials discuss cyber security measures ahead of midterm election

Posted at 10:00 PM, Oct 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-23 23:20:31-04

Texans will soon cast their ballots this midterm election. But with concerns over cybersecurity, many election officials are taking precautions to ensure all votes counts.

Cyber security at the polls became the focus after reports of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“The federal government has updated their cybersecurity standards as of about a year ago I believe. This new equipment with the county conforms to the latest federal government cybersecurity standards,” said William Rosenberg, an election judge in Bell County.

While every county runs elections differently, Bell County officials opted to keep a paper trail.

“There is a national trend toward keeping a paper trail, and in the new equipment that the county bought last year, they had a choice. They could have gone all electronic but there are issues with that so the county opted both for security standards and to keep public confidence to invest in equipment that has a paper trail,” said Rosenberg.

The county bought new voting equipment last year.

“Nothing is online. There is no way that any type of hacker could get into the equipment and hack it to change any type of election information,” said Melinda Luedecke, a Bell County election administrator.

Voters make a selection on a computerized screen. This prints a ballot for the voter to then place in the tabulator. The paper copy is stored in a locked box.

“The public has to have confidence in our system. If they don’t it will dampen turnout it will create all kinds of issues,” said Rosenberg.