Election officials to legislators: No major problem with voting fraud in TN — for now

At a Senate State and Local Government Committee hearing Tuesday, Tennessee election officials tried to allay legislator fears that the state’s voting records are vulnerable to hacking, reports WPLN. At the same time, they acknowledged there’s a significant risk that outside groups could try to disrupt future elections.

Secretary of State Tre Hargett, election coordinator Mark Goins and others (said)… that they are preparing against the possibility that someone could attempt to muddle voter rolls or election results, in an attempt to sow confusion about the outcome of a close race.

But they say the chances of such an attack succeeding are much lower than many Tennesseans realize. They note that the entire voting process is closely watched by Republicans and Democrats, and they say records are scrutinized for signs that final results have been tampered with.

“There’s a certification process,” Goins says. “We do have a verification process.”

President Donald Trump brought the specter of election tampering to a national conversation in the fall of 2016, when polls showed he was likely to lose to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The president continued to fuel such fears after the election, claiming without supporting evidence that Clinton had received more votes only because millions had cast ballots illegally.

Election experts and the public officials who oversee voting say there’s little chance the widespread, in-person voter fraud that Trump alleges could succeed.

The bigger risk is that voting rolls could be altered to suppress turnout, or hackers could tap into the websites where unofficial results are posted on election night.

“If we said someone had won a race by a thousand votes and then all of a sudden we made a correction, showing them losing by a thousand votes, people watching the returns would think, ‘What happened?'” Hargett said. “That is what would erode confidence on election night, frankly.”

…Last year, Tennessee election officials found about 40 potential cases of improper voting out of more than 4 million ballots cast in the general and primary elections. Only a handful were found to be serious enough to warrant prosecution.

Still, officials say there are threats to the system. Last year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security told 21 states that they’d found evidence Russian hackers had tried to infiltrate their voting systems in the lead-up to the election. But so far, it appears they succeeded in only two, and there’s no evidence the intrusions affected the outcome.

“The story that’s not being told is the system worked in the overwhelmingly majority of those states,” says Goins. “In those 19 states, when they tried to turn the door, the alarm went off and they got turned away.”

2 Responses to Election officials to legislators: No major problem with voting fraud in TN — for now

  • Lance Persson says:

    My question is why the state election office is not following state law as it pertains to state primary elections. In Title 2 Elections, Chapter 7 Procedure at the Polling Place, Tenn. Code Ann. § 2-7-115 it clearly states that you are only allowed to vote in a tn party primary election if –

    (1) You are a bona fide member of, and affiliated with the political party of primary you want to vote in.
    or
    (2) You declare allegiance to the political party in whose primary they seeks to vote it and intend to affiliate with that party.

    There is no effort by the state election office to inform voters of these requirements. All they do is have voters fill out a small form asking them which party’s primary do you want to vote in? WHY ARE THEY NOT FOLLOWING WHAT IT SAYS IN THE LAW?

  • Junelandrum says:

    We do not have registration by party in ten therefore you cannot keep folks from doing as they please. Ask Lamar bob etc if they will allow party registration.

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