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DeKalb County officials say elections secure on first day of early voting

SYCAMORE – Early voting for the March 17 primary began Thursday, and DeKalb County officials are confident that the local election apparatus is secure.

DeKalb County Democratic party chairman Jim Luebke and DeKalb County Republican Party chairman Tim Bagby were asked about election security, and they both said it works.

“It’s wonderful,” Bagby said.

Luebke mentioned how using a USB drive to transfer voting results from the DS200 – the county’s voting machine – inspires more confidence in the county’s ability to protect its elections.

“That’s as secure as it could be,” Luebke said.

The county has used the DS200 voting and ballot-counting machine for more than 10 years, DeKalb County Clerk and Recorder Douglas Johnson said. It is almost the same machine as its predecessor from the company that created it, ES&S. The difference is the new model has a larger screen. The method prevents any electronic interference in voting.

“We can’t be hacked through the internet,” Johnson said. “It’s one of our measures we use to try to stay secure. It’s called an air gap.”

An air gap refers to computers or networks that are not connected directly to the internet or to any other computers that are in turn connected to the internet. Johnson said that although voting machines now have the capability to remotely transfer the results through the internet, he chooses not to.

“Don’t fix what’s not broken,” he said.

Johnson said DeKalb County voters are familiar with the machines and know how to fill out their ballot.

“They’re comfortable with that; they know how to put it in our machine. Our election judges know how to run the machines. We’re gonna stay steady as she goes,” he said.

Johnson said he takes his job seriously. His high priority of keeping the elections secure goes back to the three years he served in the Army from 1978 to 1981, when he served as a green beret ranger and was in the Army Airborne. He also was on what was called a “Green Light Team” and once was placed in charge of carrying a nuclear bomb.

Luebke said he has faith in the current election security in DeKalb County.

“As our system in DeKalb County goes, it is pretty good,” Luebke said. “We have the paper ballot, we have the scantron. You mark your ballot, feed it through the machine and it’s verified.”

Luebke said each party has an election judge who verifies the votes. This helps to serve as another safeguard for local elections.

Bagby had good things to say about election security in the county.

“We have a paper trail for the ballots and plenty of election judges who know what they’re doing,” Bagby said. “Through each step of the [election] process, there’s oversight from both parties to make sure everything is on the up-and-up.”

Where and when to vote early

Election Day is March 17, but DeKalb County residents can vote early inside the DeKalb County Legislative Center’s Gathertorium, 200 N. Main St., Sycamore.

According to a website at http://dekalb.il.clerkserve.com, residents can vote from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the following dates:

• Friday

• Monday to Feb. 14

• Feb. 17 to 18

• Feb. 20 to 28 (Monday through Friday)

• March 2, 4 and 6

Residents can vote from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the following dates:

• March 8

• March 14 to 15

The following dates have different times during which voting centers are open:

• Feb. 19 – 8:30 a.m. to noon

• March 3 and 5 – from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

• March 7 – 9 a.m. to noon

• March 13 – 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

• March 16 – 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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