Bernalillo County officials respond to election security concerns
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Confidential voting information was seemingly left out for anyone to see at a polling place in northwest Albuquerque.
Usernames and passwords to the tabulation machine were unsupervised long enough for a voter to take a picture and send it to KOB 4.
So, we talked to Bernalillo County election officials Wednesday about the mishap.
“It is not as big of an issue in terms of safeguards and security because those passwords only provide limited access,” said Nathan Jaramillo, a Bernalillo County Bureau of Elections administrator.
Jaramillo says the usernames and passwords will turn the tabulation machine on and off. They also give access to issue a provisional ballot, but that’s about it.
He says access to more sensitive information requires a physical key, or an administrator.
“In addition to that, if there is needed administrative access, our office would have additional passwords that is not privy to any presiding judge at any location,” said Jaramillo.
KOB 4 asked Jaramillo what kind of training presiding judges go through in keeping information confidential and secure.
“We emphasize the necessity for security and confidentiality at all sites, but in addition to that we employ our own safeguards in place to ensure there are no further issues down the road,” Jaramillo said.
He reiterated those additional safeguards several times, including when KOB 4 asked what he would tell people who don’t have faith in the integrity of elections.
“We always emphasize the need for security and safety for all aspects of elections, but this instance in and of itself is not something that would affect the integrity of the election,” said Jaramillo.
That confidential paper also says these logins must not be provided to any unauthorized poll officials in any circumstance.
But Jaramillo claims that’s only because no one outside the presiding judge, or official election poll workers would have a use for them.
“Members of the public can become an election board member if they’re a registered voter. Then, by virtue of that they can become an election board member that can be handed those passwords,” said Jaramillo.
KOB 4 asked if any action would be taken against the presiding judge who left the confidential information out.
Jaramillo says when they hire election board members they take into account their conduct at the sites from previous elections.
KOB 4 also asked if there would be any additional training on keeping sensitive information secure.
Jaramillo says since the information wouldn’t affect the integrity of the election it’s not going to cause a knee-jerk reaction for them to go forward with any changes in their processes.