County talks security for Nov. election

The next round of voting doesn’t take place until November, but election security was on the agenda at Thursday night’s County Board of Commissioners meeting.

At the request of Commissioner Charles Rousseau, County Director of Elections Floyd Jones offered an overview of the integrity and security of elections in Fayette. Jones offered a step-by-step look at how elections are protected, while reminding the people that the process is for them.

“They say that sunlight is the best disinfectant, and we do everything that we can do to protect the voter in the light of the public,” he said.

From secure servers with no network connectivity to strict security and storage of voting machines to mandated testing of units, Jones said everything is done to make sure election night results are honest and accurate.

He also extended an open invitation to anyone who would like to see the process up close.

“Everything we do on election night is open to the public,” said Jones. “I would encourage you, if you would like to come see what we do to come on up and see it.”

Talk of election security in Georgia has been stoked by a lawsuit by the Coalition for Good Governance against the state and the State Board of Elections. The crux of the suit is to push the state to use paper balloting this November, something Jones does not think is a good idea, especially given the time crunch.

“If we return to a paper ballot at this point, in my perspective, I think it would be disastrous for us at this point in time,” he said.

Commissioner Steve Brown shared his concerns over security. While it would be extremely hard to rig a national election, he said that for local and state elections, where the final tally comes down to dozens of votes or fewer, it would be much simpler.

“All you’ve got to do is change one precinct and flip 100 votes and you could literally control the outcome of that election,” he said.

He suggested considering vaults and double locks on the machines, among other options.

Rousseau summed up his reasoning for requesting the presentation. Elections must be secure, and they must be driven by the people. While Fayette has one of the highest voter participation numbers in the state, he urged a push to get even more involved, and suggested using the county’s electronic road signs as a reminder when election day is fast approaching.

“The most important component of this is voting integrity and voting participation,” he said.

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