The Villages Voice - November 2016

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SUMTER COUNTY VOTE NOTES

by Karen S. Krauss, Sumter County

SUMTER COUNTY VOTE NOTES   Are our Elections Secure?   This is a question we supervisor’s are being asked often these days, and unfortunately, premature speculation on the topic is one of the unfortunate takeaways of the 2016 election cycle.  Engaging in risky theorization will only result in further erosion of voter confidence; and quite frankly, is insulting to us, our staff, and our well-trained team of poll-workers who step up to serve and administer stellar elections.   On November 8, 2016, we will have an election that will determine the next President of the United States.  Our nation has a long history of smooth transitions from one President to the next, and we’re confident that this tradition will continue.  It is our hope that ALL voters read the following letter written by Chris Chambless, our colleague and President of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections, who says it best:   Dear Florida Voter, Recently there have been several stories regarding potential vulnerabilities of US voting systems to cyber attacks. This issue is a matter of national security; however, it is important to note that there is no indication from federal law enforcement (security agencies, U.S. Dept. of Justice) to state election officials that any credible threat currently exists when it comes to the issue of hacking elections. While the security of voting systems is a top priority for election professionals across the state of Florida, recent enhancements to Florida voting systems have dramatically reduced exposures to hacking elections.   At the core of the security of Florida voting systems is the fact that we are a paper ballot state. Florida law mandates that "all voting" be by marksense ballot (with the temporary exception of voters with disabilities who may use DRE (Touch Screen) voting until 2020). Should any disruption or corruption in the transmission of vote totals occur, we can always refer to the original paper ballot.   Electronic voting systems are not Internet-based and do not connect to each other on line (Closed Network). Prior to each election, a public Logic and Accuracy test is conducted of each voting tabulator and tabulation system to ensure that they are working and tabulating properly. The individual thumb drives that record the votes from the precincts, early voting sites and vote by mail central count tabulators are digitally signed and secured. They cannot be replaced by any commercial off the shelf (COTS) thumb drive to subvert the local process of counting ballots.   Precinct tabulated results are transmitted to our office in brief encrypted burst. Outside attackers would need to overcome multiple layers of encryption, which if successful, would result in corrupting, slowing or stopping the transmission of unofficial results to our office. In the unlikely event that were to happen the encrypted memory sticks could simply be imported into the results accumulation system, making the final unofficial result slower but not compromised. The final accumulations that are transmitted to the State as our unofficial results are then written to yet another memory device that are finally uploaded and transmitted to the Division of Elections on another completely separate system and network via a secure upload system which makes the likelihood that an outside attacker could subvert this process even more remote.   The final step to securing the voting process is the fact that within a week of the election, a precinct by precinct review is performed where the precinct totals tape is compared to the unofficial results transmitted on election night to verify a match and any deviations are researched and noted. Once this is completed the official result is reported.   In summary, recognizing that Florida is a paper based state, which utilizes the latest state of the art electronic voting systems that are not connected to the Internet, but rather operate in a closed network leaving the likelihood of a successful breech improbable.   Rest assured that Florida's election professionals place a high priority on the security of election administration, and will remain ever vigilant in identifying and reporting any future vulnerability to the elections process.   Chris H. Chambless President, Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections   All this being said, this will be the last election that I conduct for you. This will also be the 60th election that I have conducted since I have been in office. I do hope that you have either voted by mail, early voted or plan on voting Election Day. Again, you are invited to come down to my Bushnell office election night and watch the results come in and have a cup of coffee and a cookie. Everyone is always welcome.   If I don’t see you then, please have a wonderful and Blessed Thanksgiving filled with family, laughter and lots of good food.   QUOTE FOR THE MONTH: Whatever you are, be a good one. Abraham Lincoln   Your Supervisor of Elections Karen S. Krauss, Sumter County www.sumterelections.org 352-569-1540