Why Barcoded Seals Are the Future of Voting Machine Security

Why Barcoded Seals Are the Future of Voting Machine Security

Posted by Steve Diebold

In 2019, a cybersecurity expert demonstrated how quickly an unsecured voting machine could be compromised, underscoring the paramount importance of election security. The integrity of our electoral process is fundamental to democracy's functioning. Ensuring secure voting processes is not merely a procedural concern; it is a safeguard of public trust and the legitimacy of elected governments.

A variety of voting methods and machines are utilized globally, yet they all share a common safeguard: tamper evident seals. These seals are critical in ensuring that only authorized individuals access the machines at designated times, thus preventing and detecting any form of tampering, fraud, or mishandling.

In recent years, the introduction of barcoded seals has significantly enhanced the security of voting machines. These advanced seals provide an additional layer of protection, allowing for precise tracking and verification. This innovation plays a crucial role in upholding the robustness and transparency of the electoral process, guaranteeing the accurate counting of each vote and safeguarding it against any potential interference.

Understanding Different Barcoded Seal Types

Typically, the strategic deployment of various tamper evident seals ensures the protection of voting devices. Among these, barcoded seals are the most commonly utilized in the electoral process. These seals include barcodes that allow for efficient monitoring and control, ensuring precise records of device access.

Barcoded seals are security devices embedded with unique barcode identifiers. Durable materials, such as high-strength plastic or metal, typically compose them, designed to withstand tampering attempts. The barcodes on these seals can be scanned using handheld barcode scanners or integrated scanning systems, which instantly record and verify the status and history of the seal. This system minimizes the need for manual identification and reporting, significantly accelerating the quality assurance process.

The key advantage of barcoded seals over traditional security seals is their ability to automate and streamline the monitoring process. Traditional seals require manual inspection and logging, which can be time-consuming and prone to human error. In contrast, barcoded seals enable quick, accurate, and efficient tracking, reducing the likelihood of discrepancies and enhancing overall security.

There are various types of barcoded seals used in the protection of voting devices, including:

  1. Fixed-Length Seals: Designed to fit a specific application, providing a secure and tamper evident closure.
  2. Adjustable-Length Seals: Versatile seals that can be adjusted to fit different applications, offering flexibility in use.
  3. Metal Seals: Highly durable seals that provide enhanced security and are difficult to tamper with or break.
  4. Plastic Seals: Lightweight and cost-effective, these seals are commonly used for less critical applications where ease of use is a priority.
  5. Electronic Seals: Advanced seals that integrate electronic components for real-time monitoring and reporting.

By incorporating barcoded seals, election authorities can ensure a higher level of security and integrity for voting devices, thus safeguarding the electoral process from potential fraud or tampering.

Benefits of Barcoded Seals For Voting Machines

With the advent of various voting systems, ensuring the integrity of all components and materials has become increasingly difficult. The use of security seals, particularly barcoded security seals, is essential to maintaining the integrity of voting processes. Barcoded seals provide unique identification and tamper evidence, significantly enhancing security across multiple facets of the electoral system.

Common uses of barcoded seals in voting systems:

  1. Optical Scanning Machines: Optical scanners, used to read paper ballots, are the most prevalent electronic devices at polling stations. When opened or inspected, indicative seals typically secure these machines. Barcoded seals facilitate accurate recording of the time and date of access, providing a clear and reliable audit trail.
  2. Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs): BMDs, which voters use to generate readable ballots for scanning, must be secured to prevent tampering. Voters handle these devices privately, and barcoded security labels ensure their integrity by enabling quick and precise seal status verification using barcode scanners.
  3. Direct Recording Electronic Machines (DREs): DREs record votes electronically and are secured using adhesive security labels or mechanical security seals. Barcoded seals enhance this security by providing unique identification and creating a digital audit trail, making unauthorized access easily detectable.
  4. Ballot Boxes: The majority of votes worldwide are cast using paper ballots, which are stored in sealed ballot boxes. Commonly, people use plastic strap seals, but barcoded seals provide superior tracking capabilities. These seals allow for precise identification of each box and accurate recording of access times, ensuring ballots are only handled by authorized personnel.
  5. Tabulating Equipment: These machines, which tabulate and report election results, often remain out of public view but contain sensitive information. Barcoded seals safeguard the integrity of the results by preventing unauthorized access to these machines.
  6. Ballots: Both fresh, unmarked ballots and ballots that have been cast but not yet counted (such as absentee and provisional ballots) are sealed with barcoded seals. This practice ensures the integrity and authenticity of the ballots, providing a higher level of security than traditional methods.

Barcoded seals provide the following enhancements:

  • Unique Identification and Tamper Evidence: Each barcoded seal has a unique identifier, making it impossible to replace one without detection. This ensures that any tampering is immediately evident.
  • Ease of Verification: Barcoded seals can be quickly and accurately verified using barcode scanners, reducing the time required for manual checks and minimizing the risk of human error.
  • Digital Audit Trail: The use of barcoded seals allows for the creation of a comprehensive digital audit trail for each voting machine, documenting every instance of access and thereby enhancing transparency and accountability.
  • Deterrence to Tampering: High-tech, visible barcoded seals act as a strong deterrent to tampering. The presence of these seals signals that the equipment is under stringent security measures.
  • Compatibility with Padlock Seals: Barcoded seals can complement traditional padlock seals, providing an additional layer of security. While padlock seals offer physical security, barcoded seals add an element of digital tracking and verification, ensuring a robust protection mechanism for voting equipment.

Barcoded seals significantly enhance the security and integrity of voting systems during elections, safeguarding all components from unauthorized access and tampering. This comprehensive approach to securing voting equipment is essential for maintaining public trust in the electoral process.

Contact Us Today to Secure the Future of Elections

American Casting & Manufacturing is a trusted authority with over a century of experience providing tamper evident, barcoded security seals to election authorities around the world. Our team of experts, with decades of specialized knowledge, assist polling places and voting equipment manufacturers in selecting the optimal barcoded security seals tailored to their procedural needs and handling requirements.

The integrity of our electoral process is fundamental to democracy, and every measure to protect it strengthens public trust. As technology evolves, so too must our methods of securing elections. By embracing advanced solutions like barcoded security seals, we can ensure that the future of election security remains robust and impenetrable. The safeguarding of our democratic processes is not just a necessity; it is a collective responsibility.

For specialized assistance in selecting the best security seals for your needs, contact our experts at info@seals.com, call 1-866-360-6748 (US), or call 516-349-7010 (international). Your commitment to election security today will pave the way for a more secure and transparent voting future.