MT. JULIET, Tenn. (WKRN) — Eighty-four-year-old Mary Nichols says she’s never missed an opportunity to cast her ballot in a Presidential Election.
“I’ve been voting here since I was 18,” said Nichols, “I usually wait until the last minute.”
But this year it’s different.
Between the threat of voter fraud, internet hacking, and COVID-19, many Americans like Nichols are being proactive and submitting their votes early while state and federal elections officials concentrate on a secure system.
In the Volunteer State, voters must show their photo I.D. before marking their ballots on the electronic machines, which Tennessee Elections Coordinator Mark Goins says are tested daily before and after the polls close.
Goins says the process also includes a paper trail to help verify the number of people that voted on a particular day.
“When someone votes there’s a piece of paper called the ballot application. At the end of each day, that information is compared to how many votes are on the voting machine,” said Goins.
Acting Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Ken Cuccinelli, told reporters outside a Mt. Juliet polling place on Wednesday that communication about election threats has improved tremendously since the 2016 election, and so has technology.
“This will be the most secure election at the internet level,” said Cuccinelli, “Four years ago only about a third of the states had what are called ‘Albert sensors,’ which keep an eye on internet intrusion attempts. Now all 50 states have that as well as the District of Columbia.”
Cuccinelli says D.H.S is also highly focused on preventing cybersecurity attacks and interference from foreign countries as election day drawers nearer. He couldn’t go into further details for security reasons.
“Americans are going to pick American election outcomes,” said Cuccinelli.
Cuccinelli also said that it is likely Americans will not know who won the presidential race on election night. He says that’s due to the expected high volume of absentee ballots and new, more secure, systems that take longer to count votes than they have in the past.