Election Security in Idaho

Election Security in Idaho

Have you ever wondered about how
we secure elections in Idaho? That’s a fair question. Security has always been at the heart
of what Idaho election officials do. This is why our state, and each of Idaho’s 44 counties, have measures in place to keep all phases of the election process secure. Most people don’t see the work we do to
make it happen. But now, we’re giving you a peek
behind the scenes. Let’s start with voter registration,
which is a security measure in itself. Registration ensures that only those meeting state eligibility requirements are able to vote, and helps keeps track of who
has cast a ballot in an election. Once you’re registered, election offices take a great deal of care to keep your personal data safe. only authorized personnel have access
to the voter registration database All database traffic is monitored and logs detail each time the database is accessed or changed. Routine backups ensure all data can be restored if any unexpected modifications are made. Now to the heart of the election process – voting. Idaho elections are conducted independently across each of Idaho’s 44 counties. This means there’s no single point of access. Transparency is built in to the election process. Almost all processes and procedures require that two or more trained personnel be involved, and these folks have taken an oath to uphold state election laws and protect the security of the election. In addition, representatives of political parties or candidates, the press, and sometimes
even members of the general public are allowed to observe and monitor activities throughout the election processes. If something does happen on or near election day, backup plans are in place to make sure
voters can still cast their ballots. These plans cover everything from
voter registration list back-ups to moving of poll locations due to natural disaster or power failure. A good deal of care is taken to ensure voting equipment is safe, too. When it isn’t being used, voting equipment is stored in a
facility accessible only to trained election personnel. Before voting starts, each piece of voting equipment is put through logic and accuracy tests to make sure ballots will be counted correctly. The public is invited to observe these tests. Ballots and election equipment are typically secured with tamper evident seals and transported to polling places in secure containers, and each time they switch hands, it has to be documented. While materials and equipment are in use, they’re closely watched by election workers trained to
notice and respond to any suspicious behavior. What about the folks who vote by absentee ballot? Well, these ballots are protected by state rules and
procedures that determine how they must be handled. Absentee ballots are as private as those cast inside a polling place. The envelopes must be signed and sealed by the voter. Once election officials have compared
this signature with the one on the voter’s registration form, the enclosed ballot will be counted. Now to counting those results. All Idahoans vote on paper ballots. Many of these
ballots are scanned and tabulated electronically. Idaho’s tabulation machines are not connected to the internet or to each other and they are operated in accordance with state guidelines. When the polls close on Election Night, election personnel collect vote
counts from each machine and report results to election headquarters. Ballots and equipment are then securely transported back to election headquarters. where results are tabulated before being reported to the public. Although preliminary counts are released shortly after the polls close, results are not official until the vote is certified by the boards of canvassers. That happens once the office verifies the ballots from
each precinct, early voting, and absentee ballots. The ballots are then stored in a secure location as required by law. Once all records are confirmed, election results become official. And now you know, there’s a lot that goes into keeping Idaho’s election secure. But it’s worth it because it means ensuring the voices of Idahoans are always heard. To learn more, visit IdahoVotes.gov, and register to vote.

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