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Nueces, Kleberg County clerks explain what goes into protecting your vote

Nueces County Clerk Kara Sands said the voting machines are routinely tested and will soon be in the process of getting technological upgrades.
Credit: 3NEWS

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — While early voting has come to a close, poll workers are still dedicated to protecting the many ballots that have been cast throughout the week. 

Nueces County Clerk Kara Sands said that making sure voters have adequate equipment to use can make the process seamless and user-friendly. 

"We visited all the senior facilities, we reached out and worked with the disability-rights groups," Sands said. "We wanted to make sure that these folks, if they liked the equipment and it was easy for them, then we were gonna get it."

In Kleberg County, residents only use paper ballots, meaning the security process is a little different. County clerk Stephanie Garza said that the county follows certain rules that solidify the accuracy of their election equipment.

"The (Texas) Secretary of State makes us do what's called a 'partial manual count.' And because we do a partial manual count, that is going to be for the accuracy of our election equipment," Garza said. "We do public tests, we do testing before we run ballots through it."

Upon submission, paper ballots are put through a DS200 scanner. The machine's purpose is to check for voter error before ballots are deposited into a bin, where they will be locked and sealed away. 

"That bin, at the end of the night, the judges have to make sure all of the ballots are in there, put a lock, a seal that we provide," Garza said. "When they bring that back to us, my staff has to verify that it is the same lock and same seal that was assigned to that precinct."

3NEWS reached out to voting-equipment company Election Systems & Software, who provided us with this statement: 

There are many layers of security which protect voting equipment, including restricted access, chain-of-custody protocols, locks and seals—not to mention poll workers who watch over equipment during voting. These are also hardened systems which have no access to the internet.

For Nueces County, Sands said that the voting machines are routinely tested and will soon be in the process of getting technological upgrades. 

"In 2017, we acquired these machines and we are going to, after this election,  go to machines that are going to be retrofitted with the paper audit trail," Sands said.

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