Election security requires people, processes, procedures and technology.
Voting system technology is an important aspect of security; however, true election security requires thoroughly trained election officials and staff upholding state-defined processes by implementing well-defined election management procedures. Election experts refer to the importance of cultivating secure election management through a combination of “people, processes, procedures and technology.”
Even if a voting system uses the very latest security technology, a successful, secure election depends on people, processes and procedures as well.
Jurisdictions’ election managers own responsibility for the “people” aspect of election security. These election leaders must ensure staff members and volunteers are carefully selected and properly vetted with reference and background checks. Election personnel require training (including cross-training) in the procedures and technology used to ensure accurate vote capture and tabulation. Team members should be assigned unique usernames, passwords and permissions to access only the appropriate functions within the voting system. Two people should be present for certain types of functions.
Each state establishes the “processes” aspect of election security in the form of election laws, code, rules and advisories. Local jurisdictions within each state must stay informed of these processes and adhere to them.
Responsibility for the “procedures” aspect of election security resides with jurisdictions’ election managers. Local procedures document how to apply state election law, rules and advisories based on the jurisdiction’s election technology. Procedures include the frequency and steps for testing the voting system’s logic and accuracy for every election, chain-of-custody protocols for voting equipment, rules for who can access voting system software when, reconciliation of election results with the voter count for every election, post-election audit steps and more. The voting system vendor should assist with system-related procedures by providing effective training and comprehensive documentation.
The voting system provider holds primary responsibility for the “technology” aspect of election security – for meeting or exceeding standards the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and other bodies maintain. The election solution provider should assist the jurisdiction’s election team in optimizing the use of the system’s security features, providing in-depth training and documentation.