City Clerk addresses early voting security concerns

early voters in Westfield
Courtesy: The Westfield News

WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – In response to questions posed by The Westfield News from voter concerns, City Clerk Karen M. Fanion went over the exact process of collecting ballots from early voting.

Fanion said that after a person votes, the voter places the ballot into an envelope and seals it, then hands the sealed envelope to an election worker who then puts the sealed envelope into the corresponding ward and precinct security bag. She said there is somebody with the bags at all times, either one of her staff or an election worker.

At the end of the day, the security bags are locked in the vault in the City Clerk’s office.

On the morning of Election Day, November 8, police officers will pick up the bags and deliver them to each precinct, where they will be processed and added to the precinct’s vote.

Fanion said that she will have people designated to count the Early Voting ballots at each precinct.

“We’re going to run an actual training for those people prior to the election,” Fanion said. She said the process will be similar to counting absentee ballots.

Fanion wants to assure the public that the process for Early Voting is secure.“Once people know the process, that it’s secure, they’ll feel even better about it,” she said.

In Huntington, Election Clerk Kathy Thomas agrees that Early Voting is secure. She said she’s gotten several questions about the process.

Thomas said, after voting, the voter puts the ballot in a sealed envelope and hands it to her. All envelopes are then locked in the vault at the end of the day.

She said on November 8, she will take all the envelopes out of the vault and hand them to the Constanble, who will put them into the hand-cranked ballot box one by one with the other ballots. They will then be tallied with the other ballots at the end of voting.