Washington County Board of Elections hosts open house

Published: Oct. 7, 2019 at 7:36 PM EDT
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Monday was the last day to register to vote in Ohio, which means election season is just around the corner. With that in mind the Washington County Board of Elections held an open house on Monday to show the public what goes on in the election world.

“It’s just a concerted effort by the Secretary of State’s Office that all of us do some kind of open house to let people know that we’re really working on the security part of it, with the elections and so forth. And just to hopefully make everybody feel more secure about the whole process,” said Peggy Byers, the Deputy Director of the Washington County Board of Elections.

Though not a totally new concept, one Republican and one Democrat must me be present for most election-related operations. Voting equipment is kept behind a locked door that can only be opened when individuals from both parties are present.

“We’re actually going to have to have two factor authentication to get in to most of our systems. So like, people couldn’t just find our single password and get into our machines," said Byers.

Precautions are even taken to ensure cyber security.

“We’ve never been connected to the internet for like the actual voting. Like I said we do have to send results over the internet, but then there’s actual back up processes to prove that we actually sent those numbers,” said Byers.

Along with showing the public their security measures, the Washington County Board of Elections also showed off their new voting machines. The Board of Elections received $775,000 from the State of Ohio to purchase new voting equipment. The new machines operate via touch screen. Byers said they spent all but about ten dollars upgrading their systems.

Voting with the new electronic system begins with scanning a QR code which holds information about the voter's precinct.

Then, once the ballot is up, the voter follows the onscreen prompts until they are finished. The machine won’t allow anyone to over-vote, but anything can be left blank.

Voters are given the opportunity to review their ballot before scanning and submitting it.

Byers says that this form of voting will cost one-third of what full ballots cost to use, but some full ballots will still be available for people who refuse to use the electronic systems