How ‘Safe’ Is My Vote In NWA? Very, Very Safe

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - OPINION - May­lon Rice Po­lit­i­cally Lo­cal MAY­LON RICE IS A FOR­MER JOUR­NAL­IST WHO WORKED FOR SEV­ERAL NORTH­WEST ARKANSAS PUBLI­CA­TIONS. HE CAN BE REACHED VIA EMAIL AT MAYLONTRICE@YA­HOO.COM.

The vote, both the ac­tion of cast­ing a bal­lot and the proper ac­count­ing of the bal­lot cast in North­west Arkansas, is very, very safe.

It is also ac­cu­rately ac­counted for and prop­erly ad­min­is­tered to re­flect the in­ten­tion of the vot­ers with­out the in­ter­fer­ence of any means to al­ter, change or ma­nip­u­late the bal­lot from those cast in the vot­ing booth.

To say that, I can state with cer­tainty I trust the in­di­vid­ual election com­mis­sions and their staffs in both Ben­ton and Wash­ing­ton coun­ties for hon­esty, in­tegrity and fair­ness in all phases of pre­par­ing the bal­lots, count­ing the bal­lots when cast and ac­cu­rately re­lay­ing the proper vote.

That is not to say that close vote tal­lies should not, as they of­ten are, be re­counted to en­sure ac­cu­racy of the win­ner.

Nor is it 100 per­cent cer­tain that pa­per ab­sen­tee bal­lots are al­ways marked prop­erly by those vot­ing with pen in hand. That is why ab­sen­tee bal­lots are al­ways ex­am­ined by a panel of election of­fi­cials be­fore count­ing.

A reader wrote me re­cently about their dis­il­lu­sion of vot­ing in Pres­i­den­tial elec­tions, where an elec­toral col­lege is used to elect the Pres­i­dent of the United States. I un­der­stand that dilemma, but as this is NOT a year to vote for the Pres­i­dent of the United States, I shall leave that de­bate and dis­cus­sion for two years from now.

Vot­ing in the Gen­eral Election in 2018, a non-pres­i­den­tial year, will not in­clude del­e­gates, Su­per del­e­gates or the use of the Elec­toral Col­lege to de­ter­mine the out­come of th­ese races.

All the Gen­eral Election races de­pend upon can­di­dates re­ceiv­ing a ma­jor­ity of the votes cast to win th­ese races.

Cast­ing a bal­lot in the Gen­eral Election of 2018 will in­clude only one set of fed­eral races in our area - the se­lec­tion of a Con­gress­man in Arkansas.

There are races for all four of Arkansas’ Con­gres­sional seats this year, in­clud­ing the two con­gres­sional dis­tricts that reach into North­west Arkansas.

In our im­me­di­ate area, the state of­fices of: Gov­er­nor, Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor; state At­tor­ney Gen­eral, Sec­re­tary of State, Land Com­mis­sioner, Au­di­tor of State; State Trea­surer and a Jus­tice on the State Supreme Court will be on all the Gen­eral Election bal­lots.

Other races ap­pear­ing on bal­lots (de­pend­ing upon your ad­dress) may in­clude lo­cal races for state Sen­a­tors and state House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. Also area County of­fi­cials, such as County Judge, Cir­cuit and County Clerk, Trea­surer, As­ses­sor and even Jus­tices of the Peace. Even more lo­cal area city races for May­ors and City Coun­cil mem­bers and some scat­tered ju­di­cial races for area District courts.

As the reader asked me in a per­sonal note, the reader strug­gled with wor­ry­ing about the vot­ing sys­tem be­ing “com­pro­mised.”

My re­ply is thus: the “closed end” sys­tem of cast­ing a vote in Ben­ton and Wash­ing­ton coun­ties is much safer than us­ing a credit or debit card in a re­tail es­tab­lish­ment as far as be­ing “hacked” or com­pro­mised elec­tron­i­cally.

Votes are cast into ac­tual ma­chines, each with a pa­per trail to back up the data and then that data is on a drive within the vot­ing ma­chine, not trans­ported elec­tron­i­cally via sig­nal which could be in­ter­cepted and changed.

Our vot­ing sys­tem has in­tegrity of be­ing able to ac­cu­rately count and record the ex­act in­ten­tions of the per­son in the vot­ing booth to se­lect their choices and re­lay those choices into a count, at the district and county level to be counted by the election com­mis­sion.

The trans­mis­sion of the ex­act count(s) from Ben­ton and Wash­ing­ton coun­ties can then be re­li­ably sent to Lit­tle Rock for ex­act count­ing within the state sys­tem with­out wor­ry­ing about “hack­ing” or ma­nip­u­la­tion.

The reader also ex­pressed a sin­cere con­cern about con­fi­dence in our election of­fi­cials – that my dear reader can only be val­i­dated by cast­ing a vote in the Gen­eral Election for Novem­ber 2018.

Your vote in the Novem­ber 2018 Gen­eral Election does count.

To en­sure con­fi­dence in the can­di­dates you trust, be sure and vote in the up­com­ing election.

Just wish­ing for change to come is fruit­less. Vot­ing can change the sys­tem and those who seek of­fice in the sys­tem.

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