Election Integrity & Security
The information below outlines key safeguards that are in place to maintain secure elections in Anoka County:
- Secure and Fair Elections (Secretary of State)
- Cybersecurity & Elections (Secretary of State)
- Voting Equipment (Secretary of State)
- What Happens After I Send Back My Absentee Ballot? (Anoka County Video)
All voters in Anoka County use paper ballots, creating an auditable paper trail that that allows for independent verification of election results using hand-count methods. Anoka County uses the ES&S Digital Scan 200 (used at polling places) and the Digital Scan 450 & 850 (used for central counting of absentee ballots) to count and tabulate ballots. ES&S is one of three vendors with ballot counters that have been certified by the federal Election Assistance Commission and the Minnesota Secretary of State for use in Minnesota elections.
Before every election, all voting equipment is tested to ensure that each machine is accurately counting the ballots. Pre-marked ballots are fed through each ballot counter, and the results are compared with the pre-determined results. If there are errors, the test must be re-run until an errorless test is performed. Some equipment is also tested again at a Public Accuracy Test that is open to the public. This is done at Anoka County and at each municipality and township prior to every election.
By law, ballot counters must be secured physically and electronically against unauthorized access. This includes physical security controls at the county, cities, and at the polling places on Election Day, as well as a prohibition on ballot counters connecting to the Internet. After all voters have finished voting and the polls have closed, the ballot counters print multiple copies (“tapes”) of the results. The public is able to view the closing of polls process and inspect printed copies of the results. After results tapes have printed, election judges transmit the results electronically to a secured server at Anoka County. These results are then combined with absentee ballot totals and posted to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s results page. All results remain unofficial until canvassed by the Anoka County Canvassing Board. Original results tapes are proofed and validated prior to the canvass to verify accuracy.
At the meeting of the Anoka County Canvassing Board, four precincts are randomly selected to participate in the Post-Election Review (PER). The PER is a hand-count audit following state general elections to ensure the ballot counter results are accurate. At the PER, teams of election judges hand-count the absentee and polling place ballots for each precinct. The hand count must differ by no more than one-half of one percent of the machine count, otherwise additional review(s) are triggered. The PER is held at the Anoka County Government Center and is open to the public.
These safeguards before, during, and after the election ensure that the voting equipment used for elections in Anoka County is safe, secure, and accurate.