Updates

Federal Security Grant

Earlier in 2018, the State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement received nearly $11 million in federal funding from the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) and state matching dollars to enhance overall election security. The State Board expects to use that money to modernize the statewide elections management system, hire additional data analysts to improve the state’s post-election audit program and hire a chief information security officer (CISO), among other initiatives.

Election Security Grant Details

  Media

The EAC’s election security video examines the role registration, physical security, poll workers and voting equipment play in ensuring safe, accurate, fair and accessible elections.

  Election Systems Certification

Election Systems Certification Manual

  Post-Election Integrity Audits

2016 Post-Election Audit Report

  Numbered Memos on Election Security

10/26/2018 2018-15

Security at the Polls

10/5/2018 2018-13

Incident Reporting Directive

10/2/2018 2018-12

Security Preparations

  Did You Know?

Election security is a priority and part of the discussion in everything we do at the State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement. We have a solid story to tell in our security-related preparations.

The State Board has taken advantage of election security-related services offered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The services include:

  • Regular cybersecurity scans of our elections systems to identify vulnerabilities
  • In 2018, a DHS “hunt team” spent days at the State Board office in Raleigh conducting a thorough review of our systems.
  • Two State Board staff members have received security clearances required to get classified briefings on election-related issues.
  • DHS is providing physical security assessments for county boards of elections offices statewide.
  • State Board officials are in regular communication with DHS officials stationed in North Carolina.

North Carolina is moving to paper ballots or machines that produce paper ballots in all 100 counties by the 2020 elections.

  • State law requires the decertification of any touch-screen voting machines which don’t use paper ballots by Dec. 1, 2019.
  • Most counties already use paper ballots, which provide a paper trail that can be used in the event questions arise about results.
  • Counties that don’t use paper ballots use touch-screen machines (iVotronics), which produce a paper trail and may not – by law – be connected to the internet during operation.

After each election, the State Board conducts a series of election integrity audits, which are designed to detect irregularities. 

  • North Carolina’s post-election audit program, already one of the most robust in the country, is being expanded with the hiring of new data staff.
  • Audits can detect ballot stuffing, equipment tampering, voting machine or tabulator error, ballot coding issues and other potential irregularities.

The State Board is modernizing the statewide system that manages nearly every aspect of North Carolina’s elections.

  • This is the State Board’s largest IT project in about two decades.
  • The end result will be improved functionality and security of the state’s elections systems.
  • The project involves migrating the state election systems to the Microsoft Cloud for Government, which is designed for government users and provides rigorous security measures.

The State Board has an Investigations Division, which investigates reports of frauds and irregularities in elections and, if warranted by evidence, refers cases to district attorneys for possible prosecution.

  • The Division investigates matters related to absentee voting, voter registration, vote buying, election security and unlawful conduct by voters, candidates, political organizations and elected officials.
  • The Division is staffed by investigators with extensive backgrounds in law enforcement and investigations.
  • District attorneys are responsible for decisions regarding prosecutions of criminal cases referred by the State Board.

  Letter on Election Security

Fellow North Carolinians,

In early 2017, the Department of Homeland Security designated U.S. elections systems, such as voter registration databases and voting machines, as “critical infrastructure.”  That means our elections systems—like our transportation, energy and water systems—are vital to national security.

This year, Congress and the General Assembly provided nearly $11 million to make election security-related improvements in North Carolina. 

We are using that money to help secure our elections from threats, both internal and external, so voters and candidates can have confidence in election results.

Here are a few of the many ways the State Board of
Elections & Ethics Enforcement is protecting election
integrity:

  • By the 2020 elections, all 100 North Carolina counties will use paper ballots or machines that produce paper ballots. Most counties already use paper ballots.  In counties using touch-screen machines, a paper log is kept for review by the voter. The machines are not connected to the Internet.
  • Our agency works closely with the Department of Homeland Security, which regularly monitors the state’s election systems to detect unauthorized access and weaknesses.
  • We are expanding the state’s post-election audit program and hiring new data staff.  Audits identify data irregularities, supporting uniformity and compliance across 100 counties.
  • We are hiring a chief information security officer to oversee the State Board’s cybersecurity efforts.
  • We have formed a Cyber Advisory Panel of recognized security experts to help harden our systems.
  • We are training state and county boards of elections employees on detection, prevention and response to cyberattacks.
  • We are requiring background checks on anyone with access to elections systems.

We are committed to securing your vote in an ever-changing elections landscape.

At the State Board, our goal has always been making sure elections are accessible, fair and accurate.  That mission will not be undercut by domestic or foreign threats.  You have the right to be confident that your vote counts, and we promise to remain vigilant on your behalf.

Sincerely,

Kim Westbrook Strach