After national breaches, how safe are Erie County's voting machines?

Sep 1, 2016

Could foreign hackers disrupt the upcoming election? The FBI issued an alert after recent attacks on voter databases in two states, but Erie County's system appears safe.

The hackers have gained access to voter registration databases in Arizona and Illinois. Locally, Elections Commissioner Ralph Mohr says Erie County maintains its own database on voters and it gets backed up every night to the state board of elections.

Credit NYS Board of Elections

"In addition to that, we have our own back-up system here which is off-site and not connected or hooked up in any manner to the internet," Mohr says.

And, Mohr says, all the computers and ballot scanning machines that Erie County uses to count votes on election day are also not hooked up to the internet or the county's system. He says everything is done on stand-alone machines.

"So to be hacked, someone would have to actually physically appear in our offices and do it from a controlled and secure site at our Board of Elections," Mohr says, "and that access is very strictly maintained." 

Along with the county's system being secure, Mohr says the one used by the state board of elections is also not online, so local voters should not be concerned.