Election Security Provisions

Election Security Provisions in Duval County  
Joint Statement from the Florida Secretary of State and Florida Supervisors of Elections in Response to the June 3, 2022, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Advisory
For more information on Florida's Election Integrity, go to the Division of Elections website.

OFFICE OF THE SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS
 

A SUMMARY OF ELECTION SECURITY PROVISIONS IN DUVAL COUNTY

The loss of voter confidence in the integrity of elections in our great nation is a serious problem. Provided below, you will find some of the security protocols we perform to protect the accuracy of the vote in Florida.

The Secretary of State employs a fulltime cybersecurity staff who work with Homeland Security, the FBI, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and all 67 Florida’s Supervisors of Elections. This combination of experts gives us a tremendous ability to protect against hacking. In addition, the Secretary of State employs a staff of election equipment professionals who must rigorously test and certify any election equipment before it can be purchased by any Supervisor of Elections in Florida (I believe we are one of a very few states that has that kind of staff “in house.”)

Since 2012, Duval County has utilized tabulators manufactured by ES&S, an American company. Our tabulators used in early voting and on Election Day are model DS200, and we own 299 units. Before every election my IT staff checks every one of our DS200’s to make sure their counts are accurate by performing the following tests: 1. Staff makes certain the DS200 has no leftover counts in its memory. We instruct the unit to print out its count report. The printed count report must be “zero”. 2. Then staff must test the accuracy of ballot tabulations. This is accomplished by feeding a test deck of ballots (for which we already know the proper outcome). The test validates not only the count but also the ballot style to be used in the proper precinct. 3. Staff instructs the DS200 to clear its memory and then requests the unit to print out its count which should be a “zero.” In summary, this testing by our staff ensures our tabulators can count accurately, and the Zero report ensures the tabulator doesn’t retain any results from prior elections.  If the DS200 works correctly, it is locked, sealed, and stored in our secured facility, which is equipped with 24-hour camera surveillance and electronic door access. If it fails to perform properly, it is repaired and retested, then locked and sealed.

As required by Florida law, we perform a pre-election audit to verify the accuracy of our tabulation equipment. This audit is called the Public Logic and Accuracy Test (L&A). This test is performed before each election.  The L&A test date is advertised two weeks before the test will be performed, and it is done in public; anyone can attend. The test must be observed and verified by the Duval County Canvassing Board. There are three canvassing board members: 1. The City Council president or their designee, 2. A county judge appointed by the Chief Judge, and 3. The Supervisor of Elections. The test requires we pull randomly selected DS200’s from our 14 council districts (one from each district) and one from the 20 Early Voting sites. We also test all four of our high-speed tabulators which are used for mail ballot tabulation and recounts.

To start the L&A, we cut the seal and unlock all the tabulators that are to be tested. We then power up all the tabulators and have them print a count report – the count must be ZERO. The zero-count report is initialed by each member of the canvassing board, and we archive the printed receipt. We then feed each one of the tabulators with a known specific number of marked ballots, which are shown to the canvassing board members. The tabulation results must be 100% accurate. Again, all members of the canvassing board must initial each tabulator’s count report. We then erase the tabulator’s count memory and ask for another count report. This report must be “zero”. Again, each canvassing board member must initial the zero report. Then the randomly tested tabulators are locked and sealed and returned to their positions in our warehouse. The obvious purpose of this testing is to determine the reliability and accuracy of the equipment.

The DS200’s are transported to the precincts and early voting sites and locked in a secured room. Because the tabulator has been transported to another site, on the first day of early voting and Election Day morning, the first thing the Precinct Manager and at least one other Poll Worker (not of the same party) must do is to cut the seal, confirm the seal number to the chain of custody log, unlock the DS200, and plug it into a power outlet. Then they must run a count report, which again must be zero, they must sign and save this receipt for return to the Election Center after the poll closes.
 
In early voting and on Election Day, we have multiple methods to verify that our cast and credits balance: 

1. All voters are processed in by an Electronic Voter ID (EViD) computer which records and prints a receipt for every voter who is processed at an early voting site or precinct. The EViD transmits that data to the Election Center all day to give us a count of the number of voters (not a vote count) who have visited that early voting site and/or precinct and received a ballot. At the end of voting, we can then compare the number of voters that were given a ballot with the number of ballots cast.

2. The voter takes their ballot EViD receipt to the next station. At that station they will give their receipt to our poll worker who will give them the proper ballot on which to vote. Those EViD receipts are kept and can be hand counted if an audit is required or we suspect something is wrong. 

3.  At this same station where all the ballots are kept, we have another audit point: the ballot pads have a stub that is numbered, so we have another source to verify against - how many ballots were given out and how many have not been used.

4. The DS200 tabulates paper ballots, and the record of every ballot cast is kept in the locked DS200.

5. The DS200 prints two results tapes at the end of the election. One copy is placed on the door to the polling room and the second copy is delivered to the Election Center. 

6. The DS200 has two sources of memory, a thumb drive and the on board computer. No data is transmitted during the time of voting. After the Polls have closed, when we do transmit the results to our Election Center, we do so on a private network utilizing microburst speed.
Each of these audit points can be independently verified, the results tape can be compared to the results transmitted; the results can be compared to the number of paper ballots used or not used, the EV ballot receipts, the ballot stubs, and the thumb drive to the onboard computer - all to ensure that the election results were accurate.

And finally, after every election, to ensure the accuracy and veracity of the results, we must perform a post-election audit. This audit is publicly noticed and open to the public. It is a manual count of a randomly selected race and precinct(s) and we compare the hand-count to the electronic results.

We do all this because we place a great emphasis on the accuracy of our tabulation results. Which is job one. We are very proud of how effective our policies, procedures and safeguards have provided our voters with proof of our tabulations accuracy.

In the 2018 General Election, there were three statewide races that had to be recounted because the margins of victory were very slim. In that recount, we used our highspeed tabulators and also hand-counted the  overvoted and under-voted ballots.  After we had recounted all the 384,000 votes, we were only off by two ballots. The Palm Beach Post reported Duval County was the most consistent Election office in the state.

   

Mike Hogan                                  
Duval County Supervisor of Elections                                              
105 E. Monroe St. Jacksonville, FL 32202
(904) 255-3444    www.DuvalElections.com