City of Madison Election Security
Sunday, July 29, 2018 - 4:24pm
The precautions taken to secure City of Madison elections involve the City of Madison Clerk’s Office, the Dane County Clerk’s Office, and the officials at your polling place on Election Day.
The City of Madison has a paper-based voting system with a paper trail.
The Dane County Clerk’s Office programs our election equipment. Programing is never outsourced. The County Clerk programs the memory devices for Election Day using a computer in the County Clerk’s Office that is never connected to the internet or a computer network.
Prior to Election Day, the City Clerk’s Office tests the County Clerk’s programming at the public test of election equipment. The City Clerk’s Office verifies that the election equipment will accurately count votes on Election Day. The public is welcome to watch the public test. The public test of election equipment for the August 14 Primary begins on Saturday, August 4.
When City Clerk’s Office personnel test each tabulator for proper vote tabulation, they secure each machine with tamper-evident seals bearing unique serial numbers. The programed memory stick in each machine cannot be accessed without removing the tamper-evident seal. Likewise, ballots cannot be accessed without removing a tamper-evident seal.
The Clerk’s Office documents the serial numbers of the seals used on each tabulator and ballot cart. On election morning, election officials verify that these seals have not been broken, and that the serial numbers on these seals match the serial numbers documented by the City Clerk’s Office.
The election officials at each polling location verify that they are starting Election Day with zero votes counted. They compare the number of voters checked into the poll book to the number of ballots counted by the tabulator (the number of ballots counted is displayed on the tabulator screen) on at least an hourly basis throughout Election Day, and again as they close the polls.
Anyone but a candidate on the ballot can sign in as an observer and watch what is happening at the polling place on Election Day.
When the polls close on election night, the election officials seal the ballots in bags with tamper-evident seals. Each ballot bag has a unique serial number, which the election officials document for the City Clerk and the County Clerk.
The DS200 tabulator used by the City of Madison is a single-purpose voting device. Once programming is installed, it is not possible for a separate device to overwrite that programming.
The security passwords for our tabulators cannot be bypassed or deactivated. The results on the DS200 memory stick use a double encryption procedure. Election results are printed on paper before they are transmitted to the County Clerk’s Office.
The modem used to transmit results to the County Clerk is not capable of establishing a connection it did not initiate. Unofficial results are transmitted to the County Clerk on election night over a secure, encrypted connection. It is not possible to transmit the unofficial results to the County Clerk before printing the results tape.
On election night, election officials seal the memory stick from the tabulator in a transport bag with a tamper-evident seal, document that seal number, and hand deliver that transport bag to the City Clerk’s Office. The City Clerk hand delivers these sealed transport bags to the County Clerk on election night. The County Clerk’s Office uploads the polling place election results from each memory stick.
Election results are not official until certified by the Board of Canvassers.
After every election, the Dane County Clerk randomly selects wards to audit. They count the ballots for those wards by hand to verify the results from election night. Once election results have been certified, the Dane County Clerk puts all ballot images online, allowing voters to independently conduct their own audits.
- Maribeth Witzel-Behl, 608-266-4601, email@example.com