MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) – Every county in Alabama has received a new, state-issued laptop computer that will be used to tabulate votes for the primary election Tuesday night.
Results from all precincts will be downloaded onto an Election Reporting Management computer for tabulating results. Then, a different flash drive will upload the data to be put onto a second computer for transmission to the state for reporting.
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said this is not a new process. These are just new computers to help protect against hackers.
“The reason that we changed the process where people are strictly going to be using the computers that we have provided for the state, at an expense of $247,000, is so that we know that those computers are strictly dedicated to this purpose,” Merrill said.
Merrill said Alabama’s voting systems are not vulnerable to hackers. The new laptops are just simply a proactive step. The new computers are not connected to the internet, but no county’s vote-tabulating computers were previously connected to the internet either.
In previous elections, Jefferson County compiled vote totals at five sites. This year, with the new laptops, votes will be processed at two locations, which could make the vote-tabulating process slower.
“There was a probate judge in a county that sent out a notice that indicated that their returns may come in slower because they’re only using a dedicated instrument,” Merrill said.
“There are no delays. He wanted to make sure that people did not think he was favoring one county or another because the reports were coming in at a slower period of time from his county and being sent out at a slower period of time from his county.”
Probate Judge J.C. Love said Montgomery County has one site for compiling vote totals and that will not change. They will be using the new state provided laptop, but it won’t slow them down or make any changes to their usual process.
“Our tabulation computer’s never been connected to the internet, so it’s not going to change anything we do here in Montgomery County, so we don’t anticipate any delays in getting the results tabulated and reported on the 24th,” Love said.
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