Board of Elections: ballot bins are secured and delivered

Getting Answers: Voting Machine Security

Election machines are now in place at all polling locations across Erie County. 

It took five teams about three days to securely transport voting machines to the 365 polling locations in Erie County. 

In an election where voter fraud and hacking are being called into question, all eyes are on the integrity of the entire process. 

Robb Poloncarz, a maintenance machine supervisor for the democratic side, said the integrity begins with the voting machine. 

"The unit itself is called the DS200 ballot scanner," Poloncarz explained. 

Poloncarz said the machines for Erie County have been stored securely in the Board of Elections Service Center in the Tri Main building. 

Before distribution, at least 14 test ballots have been run through every machine. 

"To make sure that when somebody is filling out their ballot, it's choosing that candidate that they filled the ballot out for," Poloncarz said. 

Once the machine passes, a bipartisan team transfers the machine to its polling destination. 

Before doors open Tuesday morning, inspectors plug in the machine, lift the monitor and allow the machine to boot up. 

"The last step for getting ready for voters is they put a seal on this to seal all the ballots in there until they come back and [are] stored in our secure warehouse," Poloncarz explained while pointing to the bottom compartment of a ballot bin. 

When you cast your vote Tuesday, you enter the ballot into the machine yourself. 

It takes about 30 seconds to process and you will be alerted if there is an error. 

There is also an auto-mark machine for voters with disabilities. 

Poloncarz said there is no room for error here. 

2 On Your Side asked what the possibility is of these machines being rigged or hacked.

Poloncarz responded: "These machines? 100% impossible. These machines do not have a modem in there so people cannot forcefully break in via internet." 

Once election day is over, inspectors print and report a results receipt for the commissioner. 

The machine's computer chip and poll book of voters is also turned in. 

The machines are then locked and sent back into secure storage until the state audit 10 days later. 

"The voters should be able to trust that the Erie County Board of Elections and New York State Board of Elections are doing things by the book and we have the paper trail to prove it," Poloncarz said. 

The "paper trail" distinguishes New York from some other states. Fifteen states have at least some voting machines without a paper trail. 

Along with the results receipt and computer chip from the machine, the "paper trail" is another way to verify election results. 

The state will do an audit of 10 percent of the machines to match each individual ballot to what is on the results receipt. 

If there are any issues during election day for you, the office of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has launched a hotline to handle it. 

Call 800-771-7755 or email civil.rights@ag.ny.gov.

 


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