June 3, 2022 – California Secretary of State CISA Advisory
Here at Placer County Elections, we value election security, integrity, and transparency. These three tenets are the cornerstones of the mission of our department. We wanted to provide some information to our voters and neighbors about how we implement these things into our processes and procedures.
First and foremost, we invite all members of the public to come into our office to observe any and all of our election processes. This includes but is not limited to ballot layout, voting machine diagnostics, pre-election logic and accuracy testing, vote by mail signature checking, ballot counting and post-election hand counting of ballots. You can contact our office at any time to ask about the dates and times we expect to be working on various tasks so you can plan to visit our office accordingly.
Placer County does use the Dominion Voting System. There were only three voting system vendors approved by the State of California to sell vote counting equipment in 2019 when we purchased our new voting system, and only two of those systems were eligible for state funds when the state decided to decertify the voting system we (and many other counties) were using at the time. Dominion’s system was the closest in design to the previous system that Placer County was using, and we wanted the change in ballot design and how voters voted to be as minimal as possible.
We understand some folks concerns with vendor’s playing a pivotal part in elections. For over 20 years Placer County has kept all vendors at arm’s length. We see vendors as a partner but not as the entity that runs elections. In Placer County, Dominion does not program our database, design our ballots, program our voting equipment, count ballots or audit votes in any way.
Dominion has no access to our equipment or servers. Our vote tabulation servers are isolated in our office, they are not connected to the internet or any outside network. Placer County does not utilize cloud servers in any fashion for vote tabulation. The tabulation servers and voting equipment are programmed and managed entirely by Placer County Election staff.
All voting equipment has diagnostics performed prior to election programming and post-election day by Placer County Election staff. Logic and Accuracy testing is performed on all voting equipment prior to be deployed on Election Day by Placer County Election staff.
All voting equipment has unique, tamper-evident seals placed on them during programming to ensure proper chain of custody. These seals are one-time use and are assigned and applied by Placer County Election staff.
After Election Day, Placer County Elections conducts a random hand count of a certain percentage of precincts and all the ballots cast in those precincts. The precincts for this hand count are randomly selected the day after Election Day so that the votes are known before the random draw is performed.
After the November 2020 Presidential General Election, Placer County hand counted over 64,000 ballots and compared the hand count results to the machine tabulations. The hand count, which represented more than 26% of all ballots cast in that election, matched the machine tabulations exactly. Furthermore, Placer County hand counted every single ballot cast at all polling places for the September 2021 Gubernatorial Recall Election to verify the election day machine count. Once again, the hand count matched the computer count exactly.
Voting is essential to our representative republic. Faith in the process is an essential part of our job. We encourage everyone to come watch us or volunteer to assist or be a poll worker and experience the wonderful world of elections firsthand.