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San Mateo Co. Voter Registrar Working With State, Feds To Repel Hackers, Foreign Cyberattacks

REDWOOD CITY (KPIX) -- With the expected surge in mail-in voting, November 3 could be an unprecedented Election Day. Voter registrars in the Bay Area and across the country have been working to protect the vote.

The San Mateo County Registrar of Voters Office gave KPIX 5 a tour of its security system and says it is working closely with the state and federal government to repel any cyberattacks launched by hackers or foreign country ahead of the 2020 election.

"In terms of voter tabulation, not one vote in the United States through a tabulation system has been compromised through intrusion," says Assistant Registrar Jim Irizarry.

He says election offices across the country have gone to great lengths to defend their voting systems -- a critical component of the nation's democracy -- from outside influence or attack.

Irizarry says high-tech computer systems, designed to verify the authenticity of ballots, tabulate votes and store election results, are protected by physical and digital security measures. The computer systems and servers, he says, are not connected to the Internet and access is strictly limited.

These precautions, Irizarry says, make it much more difficult for hackers to breach the defenses and tamper with the system.

"We are one step ahead of the bad guys. It is a constant battle. We are getting attacked daily. And we are repelling these attacks very successfully," he said.

The Registrar of Voters Office works with the FBI, Homeland Security, The Department of Defense and the California of Secretary of State's Office to defend against cyberattacks.

Irizarry says thankfully the county has been spared a direct attack. He says there are sufficient safeguards in place to insure the integrity of the upcoming election, including a back-up paper ballot that can be checked against the results stored in the computer.

The Registrar of Voters will open its first voting center and mail our ballots to registered voters on October 5.

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