As five more states hold primary elections Tuesday, one of the biggest concerns in this year’s voting cycle continues to be how secure ballot systems are. But the lead elections official in Arlington County, Virginia, is confident votes there will be counted without issue. “We have a practical, low-key approach,” said Linda Lindberg, Arlington’s director of elections. Arlington is a bit of a model citizen for how jurisdictions conduct elections. Lindberg’s “practical” hews closely to what many ballot-security advocates call for: recording votes on paper ballots, which are then counted by optical scanners. Lindberg said her office also conducts routine tests of its equipment and scans its voter-registration system for vulnerabilities.
Virginia, where voters Tuesday will pick nominees for races in 11 congressional districts and one U.S. Senate seat — along with a host of local contests — is one of 19 states that only uses paper ballots with a verified paper trail to conduct its elections, according to Verified Voting, a ballot-transparency advocacy group.
Lindberg was joined at her office by Chris Krebs, President Trump’s nominee to be the undersecretary of homeland security in charge of the National Protection and Programs Directorate, a position that oversees several national cybersecurity programs. Krebs, who has been serving as the acting undersecretary since last August has visited elections officials in several states ahead of this year’s primary and general elections.
“Every jurisdiction is going to be a little different,” he said. “Even though we haven’t seen any direct threats like 2016, we need to be prepared.”