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Peoria County has processes and procedures in place to ensure the transfer of voting equipment and voted ballots on Election Day is logged through every step of the process.
Peoria County has processes and procedures in place to ensure the transfer of voting equipment and voted ballots during the Early Voting timeframe is logged through every step of the process.
To receive a vote by mail ballot, the voter must complete an application. No voter will receive a ballot through the mail without first completing an application. Voters can complete an election specific application, meaning a ballot will be issued for the current election only, or voters can complete a permanent application, meaning a vote by mail ballot will be mailed for all elections going forward. Once an application has been received and the voter has been verified by the Election Commission, a vote by mail packet is assembled. This packet includes the ballot, specific to the voter, a secrecy envelope, a purple return envelope (specific to the voter and the election) and a white outer envelope. Printed on the purple return envelope is the voter’s name, mailing address, and a unique identifier. This unique identifier is linked to the voter and the ballot packet and is used upon return for validation.
The validation process is completed by a bi-partisan team of trained poll workers. This team of poll workers completes the signature verification process by comparing the signature on file with the signature captured on the purple return envelope. The signature on file was captured at the time of registration. If both judges agree the signatures match, the secrecy envelope containing the ballot will be removed and staged for tabulation. If the judges do not agree the signatures match or if the return envelope is unsigned, the voter is notified of the challenge and given the opportunity to overturn the challenge by providing identification for verification.
In accordance with 10 ILCS 5/24A-9, prior to each election, a Public Test must be conducted to ensure that the voting equipment and automatic tabulating apparatus used in the county will accurately count the votes cast for all offices and referendums.
A test deck is generated by the Peoria County Election Commission that ensures every candidate and referendum option on the ballot receives two votes. One vote for each candidate/referendum option is processed via election day procedures and the other vote is processed via vote by mail procedures. Testing both procedures verifies that all equipment is working accurately and allows for greater transparency with the different voting processes. The election staff will invite any individuals who attend the Public Test to mark test ballots. A portion of test ballots will also be marked on the ADA compliant voting machine (i.e., Verity Touchwriter) to illustrate how voting on this device works.
After the test ballots are marked, test ballots for election day processes are run through the scanner (i.e., Verity Scan). Verity Scan can be used with hand-marked ballots or ballots marked and printed on the Verity Touchwriter. The test ballots designated for vote by mail processes will be scanned using the Verity Central Workstation. Inserting predefined test ballots into the scanner ensures:
All results are then tabulated in the Verity Count Workstation. The results are then compared to the expected results from the test deck. Any discrepancies from the expected results will be identified and resolved.
The Peoria County Election Commission offers three convenient Ballot Drop Box locations.
These three Ballot Drop Box locations are camera monitored. The Drop Boxes are accessible 24 hours per day for Peoria County residents only. Drop Boxes provide voters with a safe and secure alternative to sending completed Vote by Mail ballots through the mail.
Ballot Drop Boxes are collected daily by a bi-partisan team of poll workers and returned to the Peoria County Election Commission. Keyed locks are used to prevent unauthorized access to Ballot Drop Boxes. Tamper-evident seals are also fastened over Drop Box collection doors as an added security measure. Logs are kept for each Drop Box location notating time of collection, seal numbers, and number of ballots collected.
Security Features in Hart Intercivic’s Verity Voting System (Voting Equipment)
Non-standard physical connections are used for external ports on Verity devices. The use of non-standard port connections prevents unauthorized users from inserting any standard or commercial off-the-shelf cables or devices. In addition, the physical ports use non-standard wiring, which prevents any non-Verity device from being recognized.
In addition, keyed locks are used to prevent unauthorized access to the vDrive compartment, ballot box and device cases. As an added security measure, tamper-evident seals are also fastened on locations that store ballots and vote data.
Security Features in Verity Workstations (i.e., Verity Build, Verity Central, Verity Count)
Verity workstations are designed differently from regular computer workstations. The only features and functions available to the user are certified Verity software applications – and nothing else. So, it’s like an airport “kiosk,” and like voting devices themselves—when you power the computer on, it automatically boots into its own secure environment, and there is nowhere else to navigate to. Under normal operation, import and export of data from the Verity workstation is accomplished using removable USB media (i.e., a vDrive).
Verity workstations were designed this way to prioritize security. Multiple security mechanisms prevent the modification of software or internal configurations, thus maintaining the integrity and purity of the certified installed software. All Verity Voting software applications are installed in a secure “kiosk” mode that disallows user access to the operating system of the workstation on which the application is installed.
The Verity system uses a “trust list” to block all unauthorized applications from running on the system. Use of a trust list limits the applications that are permitted to run on a system. If a particular application attempts to execute on a system that uses a trust list, the system checks the application against a list of permitted applications (the ‘trust list’). Verity is also configured to hash check all executables, without exception, against that list. Anything that fails validation is prevented from running. In short, if the application is not on the list, Verity won’t allow it to run. This method allows the Verity system to protect itself both against the threats that exist today, as well as those that may exist in the future, without the need for the computer to be updated via the Internet or any other means.
Security Features in vDrives
vDrives are used to securely transfer exported election definitions to Verity devices, and ballots – as Cast Vote Records (CVRs) – between Verity Voting components. vDrives are created in Verity Build and can only be used in the specific election for which they were created. CVRs are written to vDrives from Verity Scan devices and the Verity Central Workstation. These vDrives are used for final tabulation in the Verity Count Workstation. In addition to recording CVRs, vDrives also securely store the required information and logs to allow for successful auditing of the election either directly or through the data transferred to Verity Count tabulation software and available in Verity Count reports.
vDrives utilize digital signature files to provide a clear chain of custody and ensure data integrity. The digital signatures on each vDrive provide confirmation that the contents are provably unaltered, as well as confirmation that the contents come from a verifiable, trusted source (the certified voting system). If a vDrive’s contents were changed outside of the Verity system, then the vDrive would be recognized as invalid if attempting to read it into any Verity device or software, and the vDrive would be rejected.