Chatham Co. operations manager describes security measures for voting machines

Updated: Dec. 17, 2020 at 4:19 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Early in-person voting is underway in Georgia for the Senate runoffs.

Voting security is at the top of many voters’ minds. The Chatham County Board of Elections’ operations manager walked through safety measures in place to make sure your vote is counted and is secure.

Each part of the voting process is important, from checking in on the poll pad, to casting your vote on the touchscreen and then printing your ballot, to scanning it; but scanning your ballot is the most critical part. This is nothing but a piece of paper until you scan it, and that’s why there’s so many security measures in place.

“First of all, everything is coded. There are passwords for every piece of machinery,” Operations Manager John Leffler said.

Each election, a new password. It’s just one security measure, out of many, when it comes to election workers accessing Georgia’s voting equipment.

“We don’t want any tampering. We don’t want anybody to have a false security about what we’re actually doing,” Leffler said.

Leffler knows the equipment like the back of his hand. He says measures begin with the check-in poll pad.

“Every one of them will be tested before they go out, and they’re all under a secure network,” Leffler said.

The poll pad, the touchscreen voting station and ballot scanner are also battery operated. If there was a power outage, Leffler says the equipment has a battery backup that can last up to two hours.

“We also have an additional battery backup system,” he said.

Leffler says this allows the system to still operate; meaning, voters can still vote even during a power outage.

Again, the ballot scanner is the most important part of the voting process.

Leffler says there are safeguards to make sure nobody can put a USB or memory card inside the scanner.

“As long as these things have been sealed and secured,” he said.

Voter security remains a top priority of the elections office and Leffler wants to assure voters they can trust the system and equipment.

“We at the polls want to have a fair and just election,” Leffler said.

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