New upgrades to election security standards by the Secretary of State are causing some lengthier wait times for reporting of results. This is a trend likely to repeat or worsen during the November election.
The hours long wait for some communities comes from using manual delivery, instead of outdated 3G cellular modems to send data.
“A lot of people just don’t trust nowadays,” says poll worker Janice Coleman. Yet, she is optimistic about November having recently volunteered to learn more about security. “The poll workers I worked with, we’re watching it all happen. I don’t see how any fraud could be involved in that at all,” says Coleman.
Another voter telling us “a safer and more honest election is just beneficial for everybody.”
We’ve learned Oakland, Wayne and Macomb counties each use different contractors and have their own methods of secure delivery for results.
During the primary, Brown posted results more quickly after using a secure VPN connection for uploaded data. Her office later verified results with actual drives brought to their office. Keep in mind, Oakland County has more than one million registered voters, in 511 precincts from 52 cities and townships.
“We have different tools in our toolbox. We have the option and ability because we have federally certified equipment,” says Brown.
Daniel Baxter, Chief Operating Officer with the Detroit City Clerk‘s office uses manual delivery of results. It’s a system that is also secure.
The city no longer uses modems to upload data. Baxter says patience goes a long way and with more people voting it can simply take longer in November.
In Macomb County, secure results are delivered manually from the voting sites to local clerks, who then deliver to the county for posting. Come November, expect delays getting initial results similar to the primary.
“It all hinges on the technology the local jurisdiction is using,” says Andy Arena, retired FBI Special Agent In Charge.
Arena says that a secure upload connection is still safe. That said, for anyone who thinks hackers are the only concern, think again. Drives being delivered in person must still be sealed and transported by trusted election workers.
Clerk Brown adds, she regularly talks with neighboring county clerks regarding security. She also encourages those with questions to volunteer as a poll worker to see the process up close.