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Officials say Rowan County is secure for the upcoming election

Samantha Morrill

Amid the false claims about widespread voter fraud being made nationally, election officials in Rowan County assured residents they have nothing to be worried about. A recent Associated Press poll found that Republicans have low confidence that the 2024 election results will be fairly tallied.

In Kentucky, Election Day is set for Tuesday, November 7. Voters will decide races for Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General and State Auditor among others. Rowan County Clerk Elwood Caudill Jr. said the county is as ready as they’ll ever be for folks to hit the polls.

“Starting October 25 through November 1, we’ll have excused walk-in absentee [voting] in the office. So, if you’re not going to be here during early voting or Election Day, you can come in the office and vote on a ballot with the machine,” he said. “Then we’ll have early voting. That’ll start November 2, 3 and 4 at the Carl Perkins Center.”

As for safety, Caudill said he isn’t aware of any vulnerabilities in Kentucky’s voting system. The election official said Rowan County, in particular, has one of the most secure systems he’s seen.

“We use Harp Enterprise. Myself, the county Board of Elections, we go through and check all the serial numbers, all the tags. We lock them down,” Caudill said. “They’re inspected by Harp Enterprise. All the serial numbers have to match. Not one piece of it is connected to the internet.”

Additionally, Caudill said the ballot machines undergo what’s called logic and accuracy testing.

“Harp comes in, and when they set the machines, they line them all up and they do a five point checklist. They do certain different things to a ballot to make sure it does or does not work, and make sure it passes that check sheet,” he said. “Once it does, they certify that machine and get it ready for us to load up and take out.”

To further ensure a secure election, Caudill said the county has other safeguards in place.

“They’re on security camera, but then we have poll workers, and one of those workers in each precinct is a sheriff. They are to patrol the precinct, monitor the voters,” he said. “A voter has two minutes to cast their vote once they come in.”

After the election, a county can be randomly selected for a post-election audit, something Caudill said Rowan County was subject to in the last election.

“The Attorney General, they come and get a book, a binder book that’s about four inches thick, that we have to keep, and they go through all that. It takes them months to do that. So they go through it thoroughly to make sure we did our job correctly and the poll workers did their job correctly,” he said. “We passed with flying colors on it, with no deficiencies.”

Caudill said the county is in short supply of poll workers, and anyone interested in volunteering for the position is welcome to come to the County Clerk’s office or reach them at (606) 784-5212.

All other voting information for the county can be found on the County Clerk’s website.