As the election approaches, Nevada officials say your vote is secure


We got a sneak-peek today at the new Clark County voting machines. With all the talk about Russian election interference, officials tell us your vote will be safe and secure.

The new machines look like really cool, bigger iPads.

“The machines we used in 2016 are gone, retired,” said Sondra Cosgrove, with the League of Women Voters. “Every location is going to have a new voting machine,” she told me.

Clark County spent $17 million to buy five thousand machines, and Cosgrove says they're good ones.

“We always make sure and invest in the highest quality machines that has as much security built in as possible,” says Cosgrove.

Last week, NBC reported that Russia penetrated the election systems of seven states.

Nevada was not one of them, and Nevada's top elections official says that's no accident.

“Our election systems in Nevada are very safe,” said Wayne Thorley, the Deputy Secretary for Elections,

Thorley says Nevada’s combination of physical and cybersecurity has kept its election databases secure.

“Our systems, just like any other information system, are constantly under attack,” says Thorley. “Now, these are usually low-budget, unsophisticated types of attacks, but our firewalls are repelling dozens, even hundreds of attacks a day. But what we haven’t seen is a sophisticated attack by a nation-state actor to access our systems."

And Nevada wants to keep it that way. At the end of the last legislative session, the governor established a new state agency in charge of cyber-defense.

Nevada also shares cybersecurity information with other states.

At the local level, elections officials make sure voting machines never connect to the internet, which helps keep the bad guys out.

Nevada’s new election system, which will be rolled out with the upcoming primary, will feature “voting centers,” which will allow residents to vote anywhere, just like they do during early voting.

Now, that option will be available for all elections.

In addition, when you go to vote, the new voting system will instantly cross-check your signature to make sure it is, in fact, you doing the voting.

Each voting machine will also include a print-out of your choices, in case results need to be audited.

The League of Women Voters’ Cosgrove gives Nevada high marks for how it handles elections.

“You know how Nevada is always at the top of the bad lists and the bottom of the good lists?” She asked. “The one good list that we’re at the top of is for voter security, access to a ballot, our election security.”

The new system also helps give new voters like Niko Baldwin confidence his vote will count. He's about to vote in his first election.

I asked him how that feels.

“Scared, 'cause that means I'm an adult,” he said.

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