Election Security

Election Security 

Some basic facts all citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts should understand. Every community in this state, no matter its size, uses some form of paper ballot. There are no touch-screen terminals connected to the internet and every ballot provides every vote with a paper trail rendering your vote unable to be hacked or changed. If any question arises about the results we report on election night (the so-called “preliminary results”), we can pull the ballots and count them by hand. In fact, voters of the 3rd Congressional District (including  Haverhill) saw first hand in 2018, when the top two candidates came within 0.2% of the vote of each other, and a Recount was requested, held, and affirmed the result. The ballots themselves were secure from the morning of Election Day to the end of the Recount, as were the voting machines. As is with every election in Haverhill, all election workers are/were sworn in, Haverhill Police Offices are/were present with the ballots throughout the day, and the entire Recount process if necessary.

 The voting machines we use are one of two possible models certified by the Secretary of State’s Election Division. Our current voting machines were chosen via a competitive quote process, and are always tested in our office prior to an Election Day.  They are also secured throughout the process in the same way as the ballots.  They are not connected to the internet, have no wired connections other than to a power outlet (with battery backup, also tested in advance, should power at the polling place fail).  The machines generate a “zero tape” which is posted on the morning of the election, showing that each machine starts with no count prior to the beginning of the election. Along with a final vote count tape at the end of the night that is also posted at the precinct and then returned with the tabulator, ballots, and other election-related materials to our office by the Precinct Warden and a uniformed Haverhill Police Officer assigned to that precinct at the end of the day.

 Finally, the state’s Voter Registration Information System (“VRIS”) is a closed system, also not connected to the internet.  Voter Registration itself, the lists of registered voters that we generate for election day, and all election-related data, are contained in that closed system, accessible only via a private line circuit from our office to Boston, an arrangement duplicated in every city and town in the Commonwealth, so that we are connected to that system rather than via an internet IP address connection.

 Residents with any questions can call the office anytime, 978-374-2312, visit our website or call the Secretary of State’s Elections Division toll free at 1-800-462-VOTE