Secure elections are one of the most important issues in modern democracies. After the Jan. 6 riots, the security of the electoral processes is a key aspect of the political debate, but maintaining the security and guaranteeing a fair process requires a lot of preparation and coordination. The Texas Tribune talked to Texas elections officials about how they secure elections and protect them from hacking and fraud.
First of all, it is important to acknowledge that electoral frauds in Texas are very unlikely to happen. No evidence of hacking of voting machines in a U.S. election has been found to date, Dan Wallach, a computer science professor at Rice University told The Texas Tribune. This is because the electoral process is protected by several layers of security.
Before early voting, mail voting, and election day, The U.S. Election Assistance Commission, along with the Texas secretary of state, certifies all voting systems and software. The majority of counties in Texas have a touchscreen where voters make their selection, then, the ballot is printed out to an attached locked box. This system is required to not be able to connect to any internet connection and to be tested multiple times at different moments. They are tested twice before each election, including during a test open to the public, and the source code of the software is verified. Another test of voting machines is conducted immediately after elections.
After you cast your ballot, it will then be counted and stored. Federal law dictates that ballots must be stored for at least 22 months after the election but in many counties, ballots are stored indefinitely. Counties must electronically report voter history, that is if a voter participated in an election, to the secretary of state within 30 days of the election. You can check if your vote was counted here.