There are two documents created during the 2016 election cycle that help detail precisely how American electoral systems are secured. The first was a letter written by the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections explaining how the state secured its voters’ choices. Florida uses paper ballots, which are scanned on devices that are not connected to the Internet or to each other and each of which is tested before Election Day. The tally from those machines is transmitted to the state with several layers of encryption, and is backed up with and verified against thumb drives that are digitally secured. Those tallies are then verified against the machines themselves.
The second came in tweets from Ryan Godfrey, an inspector of elections in Philadelphia. Among the backstops cited by Godfrey is the fact that multiple people sign off on a paper tally that’s matched against the voter rolls. An effort to mask fraud or to have it go undetected would necessitate multiple people either looking the other way or being oblivious to its existence. And in the case of Philadelphia, he noted, there’s simply no evidence that it has happened.
Godfrey was responding to arguments about rampant voter fraud being made by the Republican candidate for the presidency of the United States, Donald Trump, and bolstered by Fox News’s Sean Hannity. The state of Florida was responding to another reason that concern over electoral integrity was bubbling: A report that the FBI had warned states about attempts by foreign states to interfere with elections systems. In October, the federal government put a fine point on that, publicly warning elections officials and the country at large that Russia specifically hoped to interfere with our elections.