Voting Equipment Security

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

Every city in Ramsey County uses the same processes, verification methods and equipment. This effort is led by Ramsey 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 the City of New Brighton 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

The City of New Brighton works with Ramsey County Elections to perform 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.

Ramsey County completes the public test on the mail absentee ballot counters, and counts all mailed absentee ballots for the county. 

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.

For more information, contact City Clerk Terri Spangrud at 651-638-2045.

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 with a tamper-evident serial numbered 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. The City of New Brighton physically transports the encrypted and secured results to Ramsey County.

For more information, contact City Clerk Terri Spangrud at 651-638-2045.

Compiling Election Results

Ramsey County Elections follows a set of standard procedures for collecting, compiling and reporting election results to ensure the security and accuracy of each election.

Votes are cast and compiled from two different sources:

  1. Votes cast prior to Election Day at the Ramsey County Elections Office, the New Brighton Community Center, at other absentee and early voting locations and through the mail.
  2. Votes cast at polling places on Election Day.

The voting system used to count ballots in Ramsey County is completely non-networked. Unlike other counties in Minnesota, Ramsey County does not electronically transmit election results from the polling place on election night. We consider this activity to be a security risk and vulnerable to interference. Our voting system has no communications capability and no access – wired or wireless – to the internet or telecommunications system.

Election results in Ramsey County are physically transferred from the polling places to the Elections Office after polls close. All ballots and election materials are sealed, audited and locked for security before leaving the polling places.

Once the Ramsey County Elections Office receives the Election Day results for a precinct, the results are added together with votes cast prior to Election Day and they are reported to the secretary of state’s website.

Ramsey County historically begins to post results around 9:30 p.m. The complete final results will not be available until all polling places in the county have successfully and securely returned their materials to the Elections Office. This timeline varies depending on Election Day turnout.

COVID-19: As mailed absentee ballots that are postmarked on or before Election Day will be accepted and counted in each of the seven (7) days after Election Day, this year this process will occur nightly from Election Day through November 10, 2020. As these absentee ballots are returned and processed, voters can expect to see vote totals for the various candidates and offices change.

If you have any questions, please email the Ramsey County Elections Office directly or call 651-266-2171.

After Election Day: Auditing and canvassing results

Following the election, the Ramsey County Elections Office audits the vote totals reported on election night with the official paper documents certified by election judges on Election Day. The audited results are then canvassed by the appropriate canvassing boards: state, county, city and school district.

All voted ballots and other election materials are securely maintained for 22 months following each election, as required by state and federal law.

If you have any questions, please email the Ramsey County Elections Office directly or call 651-266-2171.