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Iowa Secretary of State: Election Systems Are Secure

The state’s top election official said the multiple layers of security are in place to ensure ballots are counted accurately.

by Dave Dreeszen, Sioux City Journal / October 24, 2018

(TNS) -- As early voting in Iowa continues at a brisk pace, multiple security measures implemented by state and county officials ensure the ballots will be counted properly, state Secretary of State Paul Pate said.

Pate stopped in Woodbury, Plymouth and Sioux counties to talk to local election officials and reporters about the state's stepped up security efforts, which include training for poll workers, new technology and increased transparency.

Iowans also should feel reassured that local poll workers are their neighbors.

"That's why you can count on the fact that nobody from Russia or anyone else will be hacking the counting of votes," he told the Journal.

Pate noted Iowans in all counties vote on paper ballots and voting machines are not connected to the Internet, eliminating the risk of cyber attacks. Working through the state Office of the Chief Information Officer, the secretary's office also has provided network security tools at no cost to local election offices.

Since 2016, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and OCIO have regularly scanned the government networks, which have been equipped with intrusion detection senors. Iowa requires two-factor authentication to tighten control to the voter registration system.

"I wanted to make sure the counties had the same protections as the state does," said Pate, Republican running for re-election this year.

Ballots and election equipment also are secured with tamper-evident seals and stored in a secure location. On Election Day, ballots and machines are closely watched by trained precinct workers, who follow a "chain of custody" that's recorded and verified.

After the Nov. 6 election, all 99 counties also will conduct post-election audits. One precinct per county will be selected at random, and a hand count will be conducted to make sure the results from the voting machines are accurate.

Iowa is among the majority of states to adopt technology giving the federal government access to voter data and voter registration computer systems as part of the expanding effort to guard against Russian hacking attempts that targeted 21 states in 2016.

©2018 Sioux City Journal, Iowa. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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