KNOX COUNTY, Tenn.— This month's election was chaos for Knox County. The website the county uses to show election results were hacked, closing off access for hours. It left voters in the dark as they tried to figure out who won which races.
The issue was eventually resolved. The results were unchanged. No votes were changed either since this had nothing to do with the actual voting machines. Still, it caused a lot of confusion on an important night.
"I think people are trying to undermine confidence in the election system," Shelby County Administrator of Elections Linda Phillips says.
If something like that happened here, she'd shut down the website our county uses for election results and get it done the old-fashioned way by faxing returns to the media.
However, she's confident it won't happen here.
"Our IT department is very robust. They do penetration testing. They do vulnerability testing and then they have people on election night watching the site," Phillips says.
She says voting machines are even more secure since they're not connected to the internet.
"You'd have to have physical access to them and we limit that very, very tightly," she says, "All of these things where you see people, oh you can change the votes on them. Well, yeah, but I think our poll workers would notice if you came in with a screwdriver and started taking them apart."
As for the returns, they're transferred by a virus-free thumb drive from machine to a website. Then, the drive is destroyed.
"You know, voting is such an important, fundamental thing and we need to do it right, and people need to be confident that we're doing it right," Phillips says.