Election security key to secretary candidate

July 26, 2018

Election security and oversight was the main focus of Jim Harper’s appearance in Fort Wayne on Wednesday. 

Harper, the Democratic candidate for Indiana’s secretary of state, aims to implement a verified paper trail for each ballot cast, as well as a uniform auditing system.

“Questions surrounding election security at the national level and most recently in our own state should prompt immediate action to ensure each vote is secure,” Harper said in a statement. “Voters expect the secretary of state to use all resources possible to verify that our democratic process is in tact and that’s exactly what I’m calling for.” 

Harper is challenging incumbent Republican Secretary of State Connie Lawson. Election Day is Nov. 6.

Specifically, Harper said the 2018 elections are being run on out-of-date systems susceptible to outside interference. This is compounded, Harper said, by technology that was developed in 2002. 

“To have just now requested federal funding that has been on the table to shore up our election security and further, failed to request funding from the legislature to address this issue is negligent at best,” Harper said. “The ball has been dropped. What little funding we have to work with is too little, too late.”

In an email Wednesday, Beth Dlug, Allen County director of elections, said the county’s current voting machines were bought in 2006 and 2007 and were certified by the Election Assistance Commission to 2002 federal standards. However, Allen County upgraded all of its machines last year. 

“So they are upgraded to the highest level available that is produced by the vendor and certified by both the federal and state certification programs,” Dlug said. 

If elected, Harper plans to implement a plan to require voting machines print out a receipt of each ballot cast so evidence is available if a recount is necessary or election tampering occurs.

Additionally, Harper said he wants all of Indiana’s 92 counties to undergo risk assessment and develop a uniform auditing procedure to double-check election results.