Voting machines don’t connect to the internet or the ballot-on-demand system, Sandoval County Clerk’s Office staff and the ballot-on-demand vendor said recently.

They answered questions from an audience of Republican Party of Sandoval County members, plus one county Libertarian, on April 6 at the voting machine warehouse in Bernalillo.

Bureau of Elections Supervisor Eric Perez, left, and Bureau of Elections Manager Tina Dominguez discuss the Dominion tabulators, or voting machines, used in New Mexico as a member of the Republican Party of Sandoval County crouches for a closer look April 6 at the voting machine warehouse in Bernalillo. (Argen Marie Duncan / Observer)

Sandoval County Deputy Clerk Joey Dominguez said the New Mexico Secretary of State (SOS) acquired 1,700 Dominion brand voting tabulators in 2013. Dominion was the only vendor to respond to the request for proposals, county Bureau of Elections Manager Tina Dominguez, no relation, said.

Joey Dominguez said the county doesn’t have a say in which tabulator vendor is used.

The SOS distributes the tabulators and other election equipment to county clerks.

“All the equipment we use belongs to the Secretary of State,” Tina Dominguez said.

Aaron Davis of Robis Elections Inc., the vendor supplying the ballot-on-demand system for county voting convenience centers, said the counts of ballots printed and vote tabulations are reconciled to each other by hand, not electronically. The ballot-on-demand system and tabulators don’t interact with each other.

“That’s illegal, on a federal level,” he said.

Tina Dominguez said Dominion doesn’t have access to the voter database, and the tabulators aren’t connected to the internet.

One port on tabulators allows connection of an accessibility device for vision-impaired voting via a cable like those used for ethernet connections. The other port isn’t even allowed to be unsealed without an explanation, she said.

Joey Dominguez said the tabulators could have the ability to send a report by internet, but that’s allowed only in Alaska. The specific software on New Mexico’s tabulators doesn’t have a pathway that would allow such an action, he said.

Davis said the firmware on the tabulators may not allow the ports to connect to the internet. He recommended checking with Dominion by looking up its information on the SOS website.

Bureau of Elections Supervisor Eric Perez said digital scanners count votes and if they detect a problem with the ballot, they send it for review.

For in-person voting, the tabulators can detect ballot problems, such as ambiguous marks or two votes in the same race. The machines will spit the ballot back out for the voter to correct the problem, or the voter can choose to have the machine skip counting the race with problematic markings.

More information:

County clerk’s staff explains election process, security: Click here

Vendor: Ballot-on-demand system certified, kept separate from vote counts & registration database: Click here.

County clerk’s office: Absentee ballots are closely monitored: Click here