Barcoded Seals Have Our Vote When it Comes to Securing Voting Machines and Equipment

Barcoded Seals Have Our Vote When it Comes to Securing Voting Machines and Equipment

Posted by Steve Diebold

Voting is an essential function of our society, so it’s critical to maintain security and integrity at the booth. While there are a number of voting methods and machines used throughout the world, almost all of them have something in common: they rely on tamper evident seals to protect them.

Security seals assure that opening of machines and systems only happens by authorized parties at authorized times, preventing or detecting fraud or mishandling of the voting devices.

Types of seals used in voting security

Protection of voting devices normally involves a strategic use of various tamper evident seals. The most common type of seals used in voting are barcoded seals. Barcodes allow efficient monitoring and controlling of the seals to keep accurate records of device access.

Barcodes can be found on many different types of seals, whether meant for simply tracking or also restricting movement and opening. Having barcodes lessens the need for manual identification and reporting, speeding the quality assurance process.

Common uses of security seals for voting machines and equipment

Now that there are various systems used for voting, assuring the integrity of all components and materials has become more of a challenge. There are a substantial number of instances where seals, including barcoded security seals, are needed and critical to voting integrity.

Here are some common uses of seals in voting systems:

  • Optical scanning machines. These are used to scan paper ballots and are the most common piece of electronic equipment at polling places. They are typically secured with an indicative seal when the machine is opened or inspected. The barcoded sesal makes it easy and accurate to record the time and date of opening.
  • Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs). These small, handheld devices are used to create a more readable ballot that can then be put into a scanner. Since voters handle these in a private space, it’s essential that they are sealed with a barcoded security label to prevent tampering.
  • Direct Recording Electronic Machines (DREs). DREs are sealed with adhesive security labels to prevent tampering, while some are fitted with a mechanical security seal.
  • Ballot boxes. Paper ballots that are placed in sealed boxes are still the most common type of votes cast throughout the world. These are often sealed with a plastic strap seal to ensure that ballots are not accessed until officially counted. But barcoded seals go beyond that, giving the user a way to identify the box and keep accurate records of when and how the box was moved or opened for counting.
  • Tabulating equipment. These machines are used to tabulate and report election results and often are not seen by voters at the polling places. Since they contain sensitive and important information, they are sealed with barcoded seals to assure that unauthorized access does not occur.
  • Ballots. Barcoded seals are also used for voting applications that are not machines. Fresh, unmarked ballots and documenting/reporting materials are sealed in cartons with barcoded seals to provide a higher assurance of integrity and authenticity. Barcoded seals are also important for securing ballots that have been cast, but not yet counted, such as absentee ballots and provisional ballots.

American Casting & Manufacturing has experts on staff with decades of experience with helping polling places and voting equipment manufacturers choose the barcoded security seals that meet their procedural needs and handling requirements. As a company with 110 years of experience, we are a recognized supplier to election authorities worldwide for tamper evident, barcoded seals and all varieties of sealing devices.

Contact a specialist at: info@seals.com or call 1-866-360-6748 in the US or 516-349-7010 from outside the US.