Why I believe the Licking County election is secure

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I was a poll worker, officially a Precinct Election Officer (PEO), for several years. This is why I am convinced that our elections are safe. I set up the voting machines, then put them away, and between those bookends I worked at the polls from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. That’s what I learned.

Before an election, federal and bipartisan experts at the state level test voting equipment to certify that it is secure. Before voting begins, machines and tabulators are again tested for logic and accuracy. Although all the equipment is electronic, nothing is ever connected to the Internet. Tamper evident seals on ballots and machines can only be unlocked by a bipartisan team.

Bipartisanship is a strong theme from start to finish. Election commissions in each county must have two Democrats and two Republicans. On Election Day, a bipartisan group of PEOs in each precinct handles provisional ballots and curbside voting. In fact, any manipulation of ballots or voting materials requires PEOs to work in bipartisan pairs.

Throughout election day, the council reconciles voter lists and ensures that no votes are double counted. Polling stations are open to the media and other observers. Finally, a post-election audit takes place in each county.

Turnout for the August 2 primary in Ohio was 8%, breaking a modern record. It was also an unprecedented second primary, held at considerable public expense because the Redistricting Commission dragged its feet for so long. No doubt many voters were confused about this primary, but hopefully none failed to vote because they lacked confidence in the process.

Rita Kipp is the current president of the Licking County League of Women Voters.

The 2020 general election, on the other hand, attracted the highest turnout of the 21st century. Former President Trump’s own Department of Homeland Security appointees hailed him as one of the safest ever. Nonetheless, the former president refused to accept the result, and two years later some 70% of Republicans believe, without credible evidence, that President Biden stole the election.

Trump supporters began demanding audits and recounts shortly after Election Day 2020 and it continues in a few localities. Recently, election deniers have demanded numerous repetitive requests for public documents from election commissions just as their staff were busy preparing for 2022.

A CNN poll in July found that Americans’ confidence in the election had declined since the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, especially among Democrats. Republicans’ confidence, which was lower than that of Democrats to begin with, has actually increased somewhat over the same period.

Although irregularities and cheating occur in every election, there was not enough to cast doubt on the outcome of 2020. Likewise, there is not enough to justify anyone’s decision to boycott the next election.

Please vote! You can vote by mail if you apply before November 5, you can vote early in person at the Board of Elections from October 12; or you can greet your friends and neighbors in person on Election Day, November 8. No doubt some of them will serve as PEOs there, helping to keep your polling place safe.

Rita Kipp is president of the Licking County League of Women Voters

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