Election fears not keeping voters from the polls in Central Texas

Posted at 9:05 PM, Oct 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-24 22:05:45-04

The Unisys Corporations new 2018 Security Index, just out Wednesday, shows 86 percent of people surveyed fear manipulation of the American voting system.

Whether yours is a communications, life sciences, healthcare, retail or travel and transportation enterprise, everyone in the commercial industry is facing similar formidable business challenges.

The survey also found that very fact will likely keep 19 percent of Americans, almost one in five, from voting this year.

Guess which age group felt most likely not to vote?  Those between 18 and 34.

But here’s the good news, 65 percent of those surveyed said worries about election integrity would not keep them from the polls, and that certainly seems true in Central Texas.

Rain or shine, you can always rely on a steady stream of voters at Waco’s First Assembly of God.

Very few people here have concerns over the voting system, and most share the opinion of Shelly Neimer and her daughter.

"I think it is definitely overblown. I feel like our voting process is fine and we all just have to get in there and vote," said Neimer.

But that doesn’t mean people don’t think about it, especially people like Kathy VanWolfe who runs McLennan County elections.

"I have to say that this year, more than any other year, cybersecurity has been the big push,” VanWolfe said.

She says she, and other election officials, go around the state go to great lengths to keep our elections true and honest.

The Texas Secretary of State oversees elections and sets minimum guidelines for security, guidelines VanWolfe says, most counties exceed.

In fact, Van Wolfe even has a letter certifying her voting machines. 

She says all election work stays in her department and never leaves the building until it’s ready.

"So that we know from the time that it leaves this office to the time that it gets back to this office, we have a chain of custody,” said Van Wolfe.

Even more important, she says McLennan County’s closed system makes it virtually “tamper-proof.”

”It’s all on stand-alone computers. We’re not tied to the internet at all. We’re not, we’re never hooked up to the internet when we’re doing our tally,” Van Wolfe said.

In fact, she says The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has contacted her to offer assistance if needed to keep our votes, the way we cast them, and that makes Shelly Neimer feel better.

"I think we’re fine. I think we’re going to go in there and our vote will count as we made it,” Neimer said.

VanWolfe said she knows of all Centra Texas counties have similar procedures and practices in place, to make sure, as Ms. Neimer says, the vote we cast, is the vote that gets counted.

Some places around the country have raised concerns about the age of voting machines used, and how many states still allow outdated systems.

VanWolfe says Texas maintains an updated list of approved, and audited systems and local governments must choose from among them.

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