(TNS) - This morning I watched a report about the vulnerability of U.S. elections to interference. According to the report, most states use voting machines that are at least 10 years old or are no longer manufactured. How safe is voting in Oregon?
Oregon has an advantage over many other states because voters here decided to go to a vote-by-mail system in 1998, said Jackson County Clerk Chris Walker, who oversees local elections.
That eliminated the need for voting machines at polling places.
“I think we’re one of the leaders in election security,” Walker said of Oregon.
The Jackson County Elections Division does have tally equipment to count all those votes that come in by mail. But Walker said the equipment isn’t connected to the internet — a setup that thwarts would-be hackers.
Jackson County’s tally equipment is only two years old, she said.
“We try to keep up on the technology to make sure the votes are tallied the way the voter intended and to give confide once in the system,” Walker said.
Some counties in the state do have older tally equipment, including some in rural areas with low populations, she said.
However, Walker said none of those counties have tally equipment that connects to the internet.
Although Oregon’s elections are relatively secure, Walker said she and other elections officials are always working to improve the system.
“There is no perfect system anywhere in the world,” she said.
Walker and her staff members review their processes and procedures during every election cycle to look for possible improvements.
They are also in regular contact with local, state and federal agencies, including the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, she said.