Voting Equipment Security

The City of Eden Prairie’s election processes and verification methods ensure votes are counted accurately and no voting equipment is tampered with.

Every city in Hennepin County uses the same processes, verification methods and equipment. This effort is led by Hennepin County Elections and includes:

  • Paper ballots
  • Extensive pre-election system testing
  • Physical security, such as tamper-evident seals
  • Strict records of every time equipment and ballots are moved and who has access to them
  • Multiple layers of security best practices so everyone has the exact amount of access they need to do their jobs — no more, no less
  • Random post-election auditing

The voting equipment used in Eden Prairie, and in the rest of Minnesota, has been certified for use by the Federal Election Commission and by the Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State as meeting all required security protocols.

Pre-Election Machine Testing
Eden Prairie preforms a pre-election test and verification on every piece of voting equipment to ensure it tabulates correctly and is in working order. Then, a second public test and verification is performed on the equipment. Anyone can observe the machines tabulating correctly during this public viewing. After testing, elections staff seal each piece of equipment with tamper-evident serial-numbered seals, which are then place in secure storage.

Hennepin County completes the public test on the mail absentee ballot counters, and counts all mailed absentee ballots for the county, except for Minneapolis, which counts its own mail absentee ballots and completes its own public test.

Each piece of equipment has the same hardware and software so election officials can identify a problem faster. Functioning equipment all perform the same way across the county.

Election Day at the Polls
Before the polls open on Election Day, ballot counters are delivered to each polling place, and the counters are stored securely before use.

Before voting begins, election judges check the tamper-evident, serial-numbered seals to ensure they are intact and have the same number, as certified by the City Clerk. Election judges are also required to print a report showing the tabulator begins the day with zero votes tabulated.

When the polls are open, voters complete paper ballots, which are the permanent paper records of all votes. Voters feed their own ballots directly into a ballot counter, and the ballots drop into the locked ballot box. As the locked ballot box fills up throughout the day, two election judges of different major political parties empty the box, placing the voted ballots into ballot transfer cases which they seal.

After polls close, election judges print a report showing the vote totals tabulated by the machine. Election judges are required to verify the number of votes tabulated by the voting equipment equals the number of voters who signed in to vote. Election judges then send the encrypted results from the tabulator to Hennepin County over a secure network.

Results are transmitted only after polls are closed and only when communication is initiated by the election judges. Even when the modem is active, the unit is not capable of establishing a connection it did not initiate.

For more information, contact City Clerk Kathleen Porta at 952-949-8414.