By Demetrius Dillard
Special to the AFRO

Since the controversial presidential election of 2016, significant concerns surrounding the security and validity of election results have risen among American voters, according to The Canton Group, a business technology services firm based in Baltimore. 

The firm has also cited increased voter apprehension in recent years, asserting the critical importance of elections offices around the country to “instill confidence through the implementation of secure, modernized registration systems.”

While modern technology has enabled the voting process to be facilitated much quicker than in past years, it has fostered skepticism for a number of reasons. The recent 2020 presidential election between now-President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump is a prime example of just how controversial electoral fraud can become as numerous conservative voters and political leaders demanded recounts.

Ross Underwood, elections technology adviser for The Canton Group (TCG), has been a part of the firm’s effort to deliver reliable voter registration system practices for several years. 

Since the Maryland State Board of Elections renewed its $12.2 million contract with The Canton Group, providing application software maintenance and help desk support services for the Maryland Voter Registration System (MDVOTERS) has remained a top priority, with functions ranging from voter verification, to absentee and ballot processing, to polling place setup and more.

TCG also integrated electronic ballot delivery for military personnel and citizens overseas who wanted to vote and had issues receiving ballots, according to Underwood, who has been involved with the firm for more than a decade.

Underwood’s central role is to provide a national perspective to elections for TCG and its extensive list of clients, including large businesses in the public and private sector, state agencies and various federal entities.

“We’ve delivered successful modernization projects throughout the nation, and The Canton Group is particularly dedicated to the success of elections because they see it as a civic duty to conduct good elections and I’m proud to be a part of that,” Underwood said.

Rumors abound regarding the lack of security with electronic voting machines. Some feel that voting and counting machines are subject to hacking and/or some form of tampering.

“There are rumors that voting machines the results can easily be changed. That’s simply not true. It’s not based in fact anyway,” Underwood said.

“The reality is that voting equipment is offline, not on the internet. There’s nobody that could come in from the outside and make change. The equipment is heavily tested before, during and after an election, and there’s really no opportunity for corrupting the results inside of a piece of voting equipment.”

Another prevalent notion is that deceased individuals have votes that are being counted, he added.

“There’s also a second thing that you hear a lot about – that things like dead people can vote. But the reality is that election officials spend a great deal of time maintaining a list of registered voters before, during and after an election to make sure that the list does not contain names of dead people,” Underwood said.

“That’s a pretty persistent rumor.”

With more than 70 years of combined experience with voter registration and elections management, TCG has successfully implemented 56 voter registration software programs locally and statewide to enhance the voter experience. 

The company’s software is designed to support high volumes of website traffic while adapting to future changes in electoral laws. Also, TCG’s software is fully compliant with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) and National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).

Underwood and his colleagues at TCG pride themselves on yielding impactful outcomes for voters and protecting the integrity of the voting process.

“Election officials use their state playbook to create good, sound elections that stand up to public scrutiny,” Underwood continued.

“I think what’s good for the American voter to know is that their election is sound, and that they have very good reasons to continue to vote and to continue to invest themselves in the politics of America.”

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