Silver Belt | Voting by Mail: Yes, both safe and secure | #socialmedia | #hacking | #facebook | #computerhacking

Is voting-by-mail safe and secure? Judging from the many government officials who choose to cast their own ballots that way, the answer is clearly “yes.” President Trump voted by mail in the Florida primary earlier this year; Vice President Mike Pence and a half-dozen other senior advisers to President Trump have repeatedly voted by mail. Attorney General William Barr voted absentee in 2019; Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany also each have a lengthy history of voting by mail. And consider this recent quote from Arizona Governor Doug Ducey: “in Arizona, we’ve done a very good job on making it easy to vote and hard to cheat.”

Arizona has a proud history of secure and reliable voting by mail – here in Gila County more than two-out-of-three voters are on the permanent early voter list. Most Arizonans already vote by mail, allowing them to fill out their ballot from the comfort and safety of their home and then mail it back or drop it off at any drop-box or voting location in their county. And how does Gila County assure election integrity? Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs assures voters that counties use tamper-evident envelopes for mailed ballots and voters can verify whether their mail ballot has been sent to them and whether it has been accepted by the county after it has been mailed back. Ballot drop-off locations and drop-boxes must comply with security requirements and procedures outlined in the Elections Procedures Manual. Every ballot-by-mail is authenticated through a rigorous signature verification process conducted by trained election officials. Arizona law imposes severe criminal penalties for ballot tampering, vote buying, or discarding someone else’s ballot.

Every single ballot is:

• Tracked and audited before and after every election

• Stored in a secure area with limited access and tracked in a secure database

• Tabulated with machines that must pass a logic and accuracy test by the county before and after each election, and a sample of these machines are also tested by the Secretary of State’s Office before each election

Combating misinformation — and disinformation

“Misinformation and disinformation undermine the public’s faith in elections and the democratic process overall, and we know these efforts are underway now,” said Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. “One of the best ways we can all protect the integrity of our elections and voting is by not allowing foreign actors to sow doubt in our democratic institutions. The Arizona Secretary of State’s Office has partnered with the National Association of Secretaries of State for its #TrustedInfo2020 campaign, which aims to bring awareness to voters about the importance of sharing articles from reputable sources, and to get their election information from verified websites and social media accounts from election officials.

We’re encouraging voters to visit Arizona.Vote for up to date information on the Primary and General Elections. Arizona.Vote provides links to verify their voter registration and ballot status, as well as a list of frequently asked questions.”

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