Memphis group wants more safeguards for machines ahead of October election

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — One Memphis group believes the county’s voting machines and software aren’t protected from hackers.

The Shelby Advocates for Valid Elections or S.A.V.E. want the election commission to conduct forensic audits before and after the election.

Election commission officials say they aren’t worried about hackers because the machines aren’t connected to the internet and tested before every election.

But members of S.A.V.E. believe the commission needs to do more to protect those votes.

“The machines haven’t been updated or patched or improved and they can make a lot of machines and the machines are sometimes vulnerable because they have sometimes been on the internet and there are other ways to get into machines,” said Mike Kernell, Shelby Advocates for Valid Elections.

Election administrator Linda Philips wasn’t available for interviews on Monday but in a statement, she said the machines are tested before every election.

During a previous interview on FOX13, Philips said the county’s system has three levels of security, strong passwords and access is limited to few computers that have been pre-approved.

But members of S.A.V.E. are calling for more safeguards.

“We don’t think they should remotely transmit votes on election night, election security experts say that can open it up and makes it possible for hacking,” said Carol Chumney, Shelby Advocates for Valid Elections.

They want more security protections around the vote tabulator, and forensic audits before and after the election.

In a statement to FOX13, Philips said, “The vote tabulator or server- its accurate name - is in a locked glass room inside the heart of the Operations Center. The Election Commissioners, both Democrat and Republican, sit outside the room and watch the entire process. No one person is ever alone in the server room.”

Additionally, Phillips said the voting counting process is captured on camera with the close circuit tv system which was updated in 2016