How your vote is protected (con’t)

Furthermore, there are 10,000 election jurisdictions in the United States and none of them are connected. Nor are registration databases connected to tabulation databases. He calls this lack of connectivity an “air gap” that insulates the system from penetration

In our County, Latimer has further hired two companies to test penetration. One vendor builds the county’s firewall, and the other tries to penetrate it.

Tabulation, meanwhile, is yet another separate system not connected to voter registration. The tabulation takes place in a stand-alone system not connected to the internet or any other local network. The results are double reported – once to the Florida Division of Elections and again on the Supervisor of Elections website, using a separate system.

Tampering with tabulated results would be obvious, because there would be discrepancies between the printed tapes and the machine results, and/or between the results posted by the state and those on the website.

When asked about other counties in Florida and in other states, Latimer did say that not all counties in Florida use ClearAudit or have the resources to provide the same level of security that Hillsborough County has.

How your ballot is counted

All voters vote on a paper ballot. Your ballot is then scanned electronically, using optical scanners. All scanners are publicly tested before each election to ensure they are counting accurately, then they are sealed and placed in the open in each polling place. Once voting ends, results from each Election Day scanner are printed on tapes, with one copy posted on the doors of each polling place, creating a transparent back up of results.

Each ballot the County receives is first machine counted. The machine count is then fully audited using a system called ClearAudit, which was used for the first time in 2019 and was, according to Latimer, “spot on”.

“ClearAudit catches things a voting machine might normally miss,” Latimer says, encouraging his audience to imagine a disenchanted voter strikes an “X” through an entire ballot, and in so doing his pen strokes through a bubble, registering an unintended vote for a candidate. “We can see that in the digital ballot images ClearAudit produces.”

Vote by Mail signature mismatches – rare but possible.

Uncertain which signature you need to match when you vote by mail? If you’re not sure, go to the Hillsborough County Supervisor or Elections website and update your registration online. It will pull up your driver’s license signature. That’s the signature you need to match. Or you can update your signature by submitting another paper application.

Didn’t have time to do that and voted by mail anyway? If your signature doesn’t match, all is not lost. You will be sent an oath which you need to complete and submit with your ID. You have until 48 hours after Election Day to respond so your vote can be counted.

For anyone who has concerns about whether his or her vote has been counted, you can check the Supervisor of Elections website to see when you have been tallied. Some delays are normal but your vote will eventually show when it has been counted.

Confusion about where to vote

Canvassers on election day often come across folks who aren’t sure where to vote. If for any reason you or someone you know is uncertain, check VoteHillsborough.org or call the elections office to find out where the precinct you live in votes. During Early Voting, voters can vote in any Early Voting location, and there will be 23 to choose from in 2020. On Election Day, voters must vote in the neighborhood polling place assigned to their precinct. They can also visit the elections office (even on Election Day) and they will print a Vote By Mail ballot “over-the-counter” that can be voted and turned in at the office.

Craig Latimer announces he will run again

Mr. Latimer also announced this month that he will seek a third term as Supervisor of Elections in 2020, to the apparent delight of the crowd assembled.

“Craig is the best Supervisor of Election in Florida,” said Ione Townsend, Chairman of the Hillsborough county Democratic Executive Committee, “Vote for him!”.