The vote is a foundational institution of our democracy, and the Madison County Clerk’s Office places paramount importance on protecting it. As the election authority for Madison County, nothing is as important as ensuring that voters have faith and confidence in the security of our elections, knowing that their votes are accurately counted and the integrity of the process will be ceaselessly defended and protected.
The growing threat of cybercrime is on the minds of many people. Recently, there have been many questions about the security of the voter data under the care of election authorities. At the Madison County Clerk’s office, we are committed to cybersecurity, as well as the physical security, of the data in our care.
Our electronic voting equipment consists of the M100 and DS200 (Optical Scan) tabulators. These machines are never connected to the Internet. The machines are tested before and after each election to ensure they are functioning correctly. The electronic voting equipment and memory are kept in secure locations when not being used for an election.
During an election, we employ numbered security seals on the machines to prevent tampering. The memory used with the machines only stores election information. No voter information is on the memory. When the election ends, County Clerk personnel operates the equipment that tallies the results which is also never connected to the Internet. We are the only people who handle the data from the memory. Additionally, our Voter Registration System and Election Night Software Reporting vendors regularly undergo various cyber reviews, assessments and scans to ensure the systems are safe from vulnerabilities and unknown actors.
The County Clerk’s office and the Madison County IT department are working together along with State and Federal entities, such as the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Illinois Statewide Terrorism & Intelligence Center to maintain the integrity of elections and voter information. We have designated a competent staff members to oversee our cybersecurity. Through continuing education about cybersecurity, we are striving to make certain future elections and voter data remain safe.
Election Security FAQs
Here are answers to frequently asked questions.
Will there be an offline daily backup of votes as they come in?
We use a paper ballot, so there is always a back-up. Additionally, once the voting period concludes, Madison County maintains all records for audit or recount for a set period as required by the State of Illinois.
Will there be an election audit to ensure accuracy?
Yes, there are multiple audits conducted throughout the election cycle. After each election, five percent of all precincts and early voting machines are recounted and audited and close races are always open to be audited by campaigns if they choose. Additionally, logic and accuracy tests are performed before every election on our voting equipment.
How will polling places check voters in if their internet goes down? Are there hard copies of the pollbooks at all polling places?
Madison County election day polling places are designed to function without Internet access, and without electricity if necessary. Polling places used paper voter applications and pollbooks. We experience violent wind and hail events in Madison County and our election day polling place operations are designed to accommodate those events
What's the plan if a machine breaks, especially during peak times?
If the tabulator is down, voters place their paper ballot in a secure ballot bin for scanning at a later time when the tabulator is repaired or replaced. We have multiple election support personnel, strategically located throughout the County to respond to any additional needs at the polling places, including repairing and replacing machines that are not working properly.
Does our district use electronic voting or paper ballots? Will each polling center have pre-printed signage that instructs voters on alternative options? What plans are there to accommodate voters with disabilities in this case?
At Madison County, our voters use a paper ballot marked with a pen, or use of a touch-screen device that marks a paper ballot. There are plenty printed signs posted at the polling places to guide voters. In addition, at the time of check-in, elections workers can help with accommodations for any special needs or preferences.
At polling places that use paper ballots, are there enough copies for 100% of registered voters? What about adequate numbers of provisional ballots?
Each precinct is supplied with enough paper ballots and provisional ballots to handle the turnout. In addition, we have multiple regional election support personnel, strategically located throughout the County, to respond to any additional needs at the polling places.