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Election ‘secure, accurate, and passed all tests'

John Christensen
The Chronicle-Express

BOE Commissioners report on Dominion election machines and security of the election results in Yates County

The Dominion ballot scanning machines in use on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020 at the Penn Yan Academy gymnasium, Yates County’s largest polling site.

PENN YAN – After more than a month of baseless claims and even demands to overturn the results, the general election in Yates County “in all aspects was secure, accurate, and passed all tests,” state both Yates County Election Commissioners Robert Brechko (Democrat) and Robert Schwarting (Republican).

While most voters were appreciative of the process and endured slightly longer wait times, say the commissioners, a few were upset by the county’s use of Dominion Imagecast devices. Brechko reported to the Yates County Legislature that Yates County Board of Elections does all of the election management and programming in-house, and that the Dominion Imagecast machines have operated flawlessly since their acquisition in 2009.

“Dominion has had no access to our Elections Management System (EMS) since purchase,” said Schwarting. “It resides in a secure server without any connection to any networks or WiFi. It is a closed system, and the Board of Elections maintains a secure air gap around it. It lives in a double locked room and can only be accessed when a person from each of the major parties is present.”

Schwarting reported earlier that the Dominion machines are used to capture an image of every voter’s ballot and convert their marks to an electronic record. This process was tested and certified by New York state 12 years ago. Since then, the county tests the accuracy of the machines before every election with a batch of test ballots that mimic all kinds of voting patterns, over votes, under votes, and double votes. After every election, two of the Imagecast machines are randomly selected and a hand count of ballots is conducted and compared to the machine tally. The testing and audits are open to candidates and the public.

“We have been doing this for over 11 years,” say the commissioners, “and no discrepancies were ever found.”

“Clearly, there is nation-wide concern that any voting system can be corrupted or hacked,” say the commissioners. “The staff of the Board of Elections and N.Y. State take this seriously and work strenuously to prevent outside incursions or internal manipulations.”

Co-Executive Directors Todd D. Valentine and Robert A. Brehm of the New York State Board of Elections stated, “There is no credence to the myth of Dominion machines changing votes – The voting system employed in Yates County was approved by the State Board after rigorous testing by two different independent labs hired by the State Board.”

Dominion states on its website, “The U.S. Department of Justice has found no evidence of widespread voter fraud. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) confirmed the 2020 election was ‘the most secure in American history,’ adding, ‘There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.’” (https://www.dominionvoting.com)