Posted by Seals

Protection of voting machines and other devices used in elections normally includes the use of various tamper evident seals. And barcoded seals are the most efficient way to monitor and control the seals while keeping records of access to those devices. AC&M offers several types of barcoded seals that are used in voting systems.

There are numerous voting methods, machines, and systems throughout the world, and nearly all have or should have tamper evident seals in use to guard them.

The seals assure that only authorized opening occurs for all critical items involved. This is an important part of preventing or detecting any fraud or mishandling of the voting apparatus and materials.

Meanwhile, barcoded seals are an important tool to help keep more accurate records of the devices’ movement and opening. It lessens the need for manually identifying and reporting the status of each item. This speeds the process and helps in maintaining control over the large number of crucial machines and materials across many voting jurisdictions, both large and small.

The use of barcoded seals is not limited to a single voting machine at a polling place anymore. The old hand lever and punch card machines have been replaced. Now there are various systems that can include multiple devices. Recording the time and date of removal of the seal on these is a critical function. Assuring the integrity of all components and materials used is the purpose of tamper evident seals at all times. In a voting system, the number of places where seals, including barcoded seals, are needed is substantial. And it is critical to the overall reliability and integrity of the process in every place.

Here are some common uses of seals in voting/election systems.

Optical Scanning Machines (to scan paper ballots) are the most common piece of electronic equipment found at voting places.. Scanning machines typically have an indicative seal at the point where the machine is opened for inspection or service. It may be a mechanical seal or an adhesive security label. A barcoded seal will make recording the times and dates of opening more accurate and expedient.

Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs) are sometimes used to create a more readable ballot that can then be put into the ballot scanner. A BMD is a small handheld device and often sealed with a barcoded security label. The voter actually handles these in a private space so securing them is essential.

Direct Recording Electronic Machines (DRE) are becoming more common. Most DREs are sealed with adhesive security labels, while some do accept a mechanical security seal. A DRE does not reply on a paper ballot to be inserted and scanned so it is normally self-contained.

Ballot Boxes

Hand marked paper ballots placed in sealed boxes are still the most common type of votes cast in the world today. The variety of ballot boxes in use is extensive, but all are sealed with a tamper evident seal and often multiple seals. For these, a Plastic Strap Seal is the most common type used. Barcoded seals can go beyond just assuring the ballots are not handled improperly until counted. They also give the user a way to identify the box and to keep accurate records of where and when it is moved as well as the specifics of where, when and by whom the box is opened for counting.

Tabulating Equipment

Machines not seen by voters are used to tabulate and report election results at election offices and management centers. These include scanners for individual poll logs and reports, computers, printers and more. This equipment also needs to be to sealed to assure that unauthorized access does not occur

Other Uses For Barcoded Seals in Voting Systems

There are other physical uses for tamper evident seals in the voting process that do not involve machines. These include items like the ballots to be used. Usually fresh unmarked ballots are in sealed cartons and sealed plastic envelopes or pouches. Also sealed in envelopes or packets are internal documentation for reporting results, tabulating roll paper and other supplies. All must have an assurance of integrity, authenticity. Seals provide a higher level of confidence in their protection from fraudulent use or mishandling.

Also essential is the securing of ballots already cast, but not yet counted. Early ballots, absentee ballots, and provisional ballots must be stored in secure places until counted.

For large quantities like early and absentee ballots storage might be in a plastic box with seals, secure pouches, or built-in compartments with locked access doors, usually at the election center or a secured facility established for counting.

Because each state and voting jurisdiction has its own set of procedures, physical space, and handling requirements the choice of seals requires consideration of many options. In the US it is usually a function of each state but there are local variations for
how to handle and seal voting machines and all the related devices and supplies. For advice, AC&M has experts on staff with decades of experience. 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 1-800-342-0333 in the US or 516-349-7010 from outside the US.