The Amarillo Pioneer

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Amarillo Votes: Is Your Ballot Secure?

Voters will head to the polls across the nation next month to decide a number of races. In Texas, voters will have plenty of choices, and locally, voters also have decisions to make. But, just how secure is your ballot?

Shannon Lackey, Randall County Elections Administrator, says voting in Randall County is completely secure for all registered voters.

“If you are a registered voter, your vote will count,” Lackey said. “Our election equipment hasn’t changed.”

Steve Land, chairman of the Potter County Democratic Party, also echoed these sentiments, saying voters in both counties will be using the same voting equipment and can be sure their ballots will be safe this November.

“The election equipment is secure,” Land said. “When you get in line to vote, in Potter and Randall Counties, it will be 100 percent secure.”

Land also said he is not concerned about voter fraud in Amarillo, saying it is a talking point created by Republican politicians.

“The idea of voter fraud was developed by Republicans to sow fear,” Land said. “There has never been a case of voter fraud in Potter County. If you’re in line, you can be sure, your vote will count.”

The equipment used in both counties is the Hart Intercivic Verity machine. According to the Hart Intercivic website, these machines have been in use, at least since last November in both counties, and includes both a digital and paper component. As a hybrid voting booth, the machines take both the digital numbers from the voting rolls and save images of the ballots on paper for possible recounts. Lackey also says the machines in Randall County will never be connected to the internet.

Tom Glass, a Libertarian State Senate candidate from northwest Harris County, says hybrid machines work best for voters because, while the numerical data on the digital counts can be corrupted in the final counting process, in the event of a recount, voters can be sure to receive the correct results.

“There are zillions of ways to corrupt the results,” Glass said. “You have to figure out what works best to stop these things. That’s the beautiful thing about the hybrid system is it’s difficult to corrupt and get away with it. I think we will have less fraud when we move to a hybrid system.”

Erin Anderson, metroplex correspondent for Empower Texans, says over the past two years she has been tracking data, she has seen seventeen different investigations into voter fraud across Texas. According to Anderson, many of these cases aren’t issues with machines, but rather ineligible voters casting ballots or mail-in ballot fraud.

However, Anderson says if you, as a voter, have concerns about voter fraud in your community, signing up as a poll watcher is a great place to get involved and understand the election system.

“If you want to know about the process, go watch it," Anderson said.

Poll watchers can be appointed by party officials and candidates to watch election proceedings and vote counts in each county. If you would like to be appointed, Anderson says you should visit with your party chair or favorite local candidate.

Overall, Randall County’s Lackey says all registered voters who will be eligible to vote on election day should consider making a trip to the polls.

“Midterm elections are just as important as presidential elections,” Lackey said. “From municipal to federal, all of these elections affect us in some way. It’s our right as citizens and it’s important that every American casts a ballot.”

Early voting begins Monday, October 22nd.

Photo by MarketWatch

Photo by MarketWatch

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