The facts on county voting, ballots

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Bonner County Elections Office has received a number of questions about our “voting machines” that I would like to address.

Bonner County has never had electronic voting. All of our elections are done exclusively with paper ballots. The machines we use for disabled voters are designed to aid the physically challenged voter, mark and print a ballot for ease of voting, and to assure the voter’s privacy. The ballot can be completed and reviewed by the voter before it is printed, or filled out by hand after it is printed. In all cases, the voter proofreads the paper ballot prior to submitting it to the poll judge in order to make sure the votes are what they intended. In essence the machines we use are nothing more than fancy pencils.

We design the ballots in our office and load the design onto the “ballot marking device” in our office. There is no internet or cable connection to these machines. The optical scan machines we use to count the ballots are secure in the same way. They are programmed and tested in our office, and there is no way to connect to them outside of our office. Each machine is locked, and access coded. In the way that I am sure no one has hacked my pencil, no one can hack these machines. And if they could be hacked, the voter would see the problem as soon as he looked at his printed ballot.

Bonner County replaced the outdated ES&S equipment two years ago with the Hart InterCivic Verity system, spending about $220,000 in order to protect the security and accuracy of our elections.

We would like you to know that your ballot marking devices and optical scan ballot counting machines are state of the art, secure, accurate and unhackable. Despite what you hear on radio and TV, the elections in Bonner County are completely trustworthy.

CHARLES WURM

Clark Fork

Bonner County Senior Elections Supervisor

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