Election 2018: Voting machines and how the city keeps them secure

More than 100 voting machines will be used in Virginia Beach during the 2018 election.

VIRGINIA BEACH — As Election Day 2018 approaches, its integrity is of the utmost importance.

Here is some information about the voting machines used by the City of Virginia Beach, as well as its plan for the election.

Donna Patterson, the city’s director of elections and general registrar,  said “the machine ballots and supplies are always stored in a secure warehouse in Virginia Beach. We have already completed the testing and sealed them for the election.We have a security plan in place for chain of custody of the machines and ballots.”

The city’s spokeswoman, Julie Hill, said Virginia Beach uses paper ballots that will be marked by voters and then scanned into voting machines.

Election Systems & Software has been supplying the city with its voting machines since 2015, Hill said. There will be 109 voting machines deployed on election night.

Hill added that when the voting machines “are deployed to the various polling locations and then collected following the election, security accompanies the routes.”

Because voters’ paper ballots are fed into a digital scan voting machine, the contingency plan for malfunctioning machines is the use of an “emergency bin” on the machine to collect ballots “until a machine technician can get to polling place to service,” Patterson said.

Using the internet to hack into voting machines used in Virginia Beach would essentially be impossible since “the machines are not connected to the internet,” Patterson said.

Unofficial election results can be found on the city’s election website on election night, and also on the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Department of Elections website.

“These are posted as they come in from our 100 polling locations and Central Absentee precinct which processes absentee ballots,” Patterson said.

However, Patterson reminded that volunteer staff the city’s polling locations and that “some take longer than others” to process their results.

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