As Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft observes National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and his office’s work securing Missouri’s elections, Ashcroft reminds residents that today is the last day to register to vote for special elections coming up on Nov. 5.

“This is not a common time, we don’t normally think of November elections in odd years although they do happen,” Ashcroft said when he organized and participated in a live Q&A on Facebook, answering questions on voter registration and election security. 

Political subdivisions in Phelps County decided to place four issues on the November 2019 ballot. Phelps County is joining Rolla and St. James in asking voters to decide on a local use tax measure in the off-year election, while Licking R-VIII School District is asking voters to decide on the ballot initiative calling for an increased school tax levy.

Ashcroft said individuals can visit www.GoVoteMissouri.com to check their registration status.

Election Security 

Ashcroft also is promoting election security in observance of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month held in October. He recently added an election security resource page to the secretary of state’s website that details some of the steps taken to protect Missouri’s elections. 

“Election security is a top priority for our office,” Ashcroft said. “Even with all we’ve done, we know the task of protecting our elections is an ongoing challenge. We will continue to work closely with officials at every level of government to ensure every vote counts and Missourians can continue to have confidence in their elections.”

Steps taking to protect Missouri's elections include:

— No single point of access. There are 116 election jurisdictions in Missouri, each with their own voting system. 

— Not connected to the internet. Voting machines are not connected to the internet, so they can’t be hacked from the internet. 

— Voting machine paper trail. Every single voting machine in Missouri is required to produce a paper audit trail.

— Bipartisan counting of absentees. When absentee ballots are processed, they are counted by a bipartisan team.

— Public testing of machines. Voting machines are publicly tested both before and after election day.

— Machines are locked and sealed. Once checked for accuracy, election equipment is locked and sealed to prohibit any tampering with the equipment on election day.

— Second chance voting.  All voting machines in Missouri are required to give the voter a second chance to ensure the ballot is marked correctly. 

— Results audited by LEAs. Election results are audited by local election officials before any results are certified.

In January 2018, Missouri joined ERIC, the Electronic Registration Information Center, to help maintain an accurate voter registration database.  

Through participation in ERIC, states can compare official data on eligible voters—such as voter and motor vehicle registrations, U.S. Postal Service addresses, and Social Security death records—to keep voter rolls more complete and up to date, according to Ashcroft. More than half of U.S. states participate in ERIC.

“As Missouri’s chief elections official, it’s my duty to maintain the integrity of our systems and protect your voice at the ballot box,” Ashcroft said. “Missourians should have confidence in our elections, and it’s paramount for us to be transparent.”