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Election security addressed

Editor’s note: Tom Hand is chairman of the Bryan County Board of Elections.

Hello Bryan County, We are now just 26 days away from the midterm elections on November 8, 2022. I thought you might want to know some of the steps we take here in Bryan County, as well as throughout the state, to ensure election integrity.

The first step in the election’s process is voter registration which is generally done online and overseen by the Georgia Secretary of State (SOS) office.

However, you should know that your Bryan County Elections Team also participates in verifying the registration status of everyone who shows up at the polls on Election Day wanting to cast a ballot.

Even before Election Day, the Bryan County Elections Team takes numerous steps to safeguard an accurate election.

Several weeks prior to an election, each and every touchscreen (voting machine) that will be used in the election, undergoes a “Logic and Accuracy” test. This assessment includes our staff voting with a fictitious ballot and verifying that every selection was properly recorded by the voting machine. As soon as the touchscreen passes the test, we apply eight different security tags to each machine and these are not removed until Election Day when the Poll Manager, in the presence of witnesses, removes them.

The same sort of detailed verification process is also conducted with the poll pads which are used to verify the voter’s registration status and with the ballot boxes where the voter’s selections are officially counted. For the upcoming November election, between the touchscreens, poll pads, and ballot boxes, the Bryan County Elections Team will test and verify almost 150 different election-related machines and apply almost 1,000 security tags. On Election Day, even more steps are taken to confirm a valid election takes place. When it is your turn to vote, our poll workers will ask you for your photo ID and verify that you are registered to vote and that you are voting in the proper precinct. Once that is checked and approved, you are issued a card that allows you to access the ballot on our electronic touchscreens.

Once you vote on the touchscreen, you are shown on the machine how you voted, so you can personally verify that the touchscreen properly recorded your vote. Next, you print out a paper copy of the ballot, and you verify that the paper copy also eflects how you voted. Finally, you personally insert the paper ballot into the ballot box and your vote is officially counted.

Throughout the day, Poll Managers are constantly verifying that the count of all the machines in a polling place add up to the total displayed on the official ballot box. Finally, after we close the polls and wrap up for the night, a representative from the Sheriff’s Department delivers the official ballots to election headquarters.

All in all, you can rest assured that the Bryan County Elections Team is doing its part to guarantee election integrity.

Thank you for your time and please remember to vote.

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