Response from Courtney Bailey-Kanelos
Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments on this report:
Response to Overview: The cyber election team was not offered $1.00 to review the election system by the Registrar of Voters. The cyber elections team offered the Registrar of Voters to review the voting system for $1.00. After the cyber elections team was notified that the Registrar of Voters could not grant this request without a competitive bidding process and further input from collaborating County departments, such as the Department of Technology, the cyber elections team insisted to still come out to Sacramento County for a tour, which is allowed by any member of the public.
The immense pressure to complete the requested system review, by various external sources right before the Christmas holiday, suggested that this review was politically motivated instead of an honest attempt to understand and collaborate with election officials to come up with solutions to improve our democratic process.
Response to Photo 3 & Photo 4: As mentioned to the cyber technician during the tour, this laptop and printer was used for Poll Worker training and not deployed for actual voting. Ballots printed using this printer are not the actual election ballot, but our test environment referred to as the “Western States Test Ballot” which contain candidates like Amelia Earhart and Thomas Edison. Even though this is a training unit, it is still secured in a large cage in the warehouse, under 24 hour surveillance, along with all other ballot printers in-house. Passwords for the units deployed to Vote Center were provided to the Vote Center Supervisors (Inspectors) of each location.
Response to Photos of Server Room: The rack space where servers are located does not determine which networks are connected to each other or the internet. Our department uses color coded networking and labels to separate the isolated networks and prevent accidental crossover. The Dominion System resides on two separate air gapped networks. The two networks communicate through two separate physical switches, certified by the California Secretary of State. We will purchase additional racks in the future to help avoid the visual confusion.
All USB flash drives are labeled and recorded when used. The USB drives should not have been left out and procedures have been updated to ensure that they are secured in their designated storage area immediately after use. USB drives, like all election materials, are retained for 22 months after the election.
A total of seven people have access to the server and ballot counting room, including the Registrar of Voter, Assistant Registrar of Voters, and our election IT staff of Supervisor level or higher. No one is allowed in that room alone at any time. If any system was connected to the internet or a new system introduced, our election IT staff, and the central Department of Technology, would be notified immediately. The VOIP phone was placed in the room during a fire suppression/temperature communication test on December 9 and has since been removed. It was not present during the election nor connected to our voting system at any time.
24 hour surveillance is in all rooms with ballots, network jacks, configured equipment, petitions, and where adjudication occurs. Additional cords were needed to allow adjudication to take place in our community room (still under camera, located on the other side of the c-cured door in Photo 10) where the public and candidates can, and did, observe the adjudication process.
Response to Photo 18: As mentioned to the cyber technician, follow-up questions are permitted at any time. Our permanent Warehouse staff have access to the ballot storage room, along with all other permanent employees of the Sacramento County Voter Registration & Elections office (38 total permanent, full-time employees). This is required to successfully conduct an election with almost 900,000 registered voters. Per our usual post-election procedures, once the election has been certified by the state and the recount period has ended, we begin to palletize the 1.4 million ballot cards (each ballot is two cards) from the cage to make room for the next election. The ballot storage room requires a code to gain entry and is under 24 hour surveillance, as the cyber technician witnessed. All elections materials are required to be retained by the elections office for 22 months.
It should be noted that all of these pictures were taken on December 15, 14 days after Sacramento County certified the results and 9 days after the recount period ended. These pictures demonstrate post-election clean-up processes. All systems, including USB drives, have all been preserved and nothing has been changed or wiped from any system at this time.
Response to Preliminary Findings Summary:
- All ballot printing in-office is done under 24 hour surveillance, with at least two people present. Ballot stock is logged and tracked, per the Secretary of State Ballot Printing Regulations. In addition, before we certify election results, every voting precinct is reconciled to ensure the number of ballots we have for each precinct matches the number of voters who have had voter history applied, either from a mail ballot envelope, Vote Center roster, or provisional/conditional voter registration envelope. All voted ballots, spoiled ballots, and unused ballot paper are accounted for during the certification period. Any elections office would immediately investigate any situation where there were more voted ballots in precincts than there were voters who had voted. The printers are also able to produce reports and audit logs of all printing and system changes.
- The voting system does contain technology that could be connected to the internet. Our team that has access to the server ensures the system is never connected per California Election Code 19205 and we would be notified immediately if a new or foreign system was introduced. Recommendations for future California certification requirements, including requesting system components be manufactured in the United States, may be submitted to the California Secretary of State for consideration. Secretary of State Voting System Certification Requirements and documents are located here.
- As required under California Election Code 15360, Sacramento County performs a manual hand count on randomly selected precincts to ensure that the ballot tabulation was done correctly. Results of the manual tally are included in every Statement of the Vote, including the most recent November 3, 2020 Statement of the Vote. Every ballot tabulator has a hand count comparison completed. In addition, a batch summary sheet is printed after scanning of the batch has been completed and is inserted in every batch of ballots that can be reviewed at any time. This process was also open for public observation.
- Sacramento County never refused to address security concerns from the Grand Jury report and we continue to work with our Department of Technology on these findings to improve election security.
Overall Response: It is the duty to provide transparency of the elections process and Sacramento County invites anyone in to come in, observe, or even assist, as it takes over 1,500 people in Sacramento County alone to administer an election. The safe guards that Sacramento County and other counties have in place, including the controlled security and access of the rooms, and the reconciling and manual tally procedures completed during the canvass, ensure that the technology is working accurately. More information on our security measures can be found on the Sacramento County Elections website. In addition, counties are required to perform Logic & Accuracy testing prior to each election with current ballot content, which is also observable to the public and records from the testing retained for 22 months.
Sacramento County understands that as elections and technology evolve, procedures and security must continuously be reviewed and updated appropriately. As Registrar of Voters, I appreciated this opportunity to meet with Mr. Cook to see how we can improve in future elections and safeguard our current certified system. I am open to any suggestions or recommendations on how best to safeguard our technology moving forward, as long as it complies with current California law. Policy changes of said laws should be directed to your local legislator.
I also would like to stress the importance of how future funding is needed for jurisdictions nationwide to conduct accurate and secure elections, especially as county revenues will be greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in the coming years and voter registration numbers continue to skyrocket.
I can be contacted directly at [Redacted].
Registrar of Voters
County of Sacramento