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Hidalgo County Elections Department shows off new voting machines

The Hidalgo County Elections Office is officially taking new voting machines out into the community to be prepare voters for November elections.

The Hidalgo County Elections Department is officially taking new voting machines out into the community to prepare voters for November elections.

After spending approximately $6 million, the department said the new Hart InterCivic voting machines are the latest and most secure when it comes to hacking and cyber security--despite some residents' concerns.

"My concerns are hacking or can someone easily put 100 votes more for one person and I'm only one vote," said 43-year-old voter Jessie Casiano. "So, they walked me through the process and they showed me how it is hack proof."

Hidalgo County Elections Administrator Yvonne Ramon said she attended a national conference on Monday and Tuesday of this week to learn the ins and outs of the voting machines and cyber security.

"They are not internet connected," Ramon said. "There is no way that any hacking through internet or anything could enter through these machines."

Ramon said the machines go through rigorous certifications at the federal, state, and local levels to ensure security. She insists that such a cyber attack would be extremely difficult or impossible because of tight security measures, restrictions on access to voting machines, and repeated checks on the machines.

Still, cyber attack guidelines are in the works.

"I have often dreamt of that, if that happened what would we do and of course everything would be shut down, things would be immediately informed to local authorities and then from there branch out," said Ramon.

The new machines, according to Ramon, will make counting votes easier and faster and will make touch-screen capability more user friendly and easier to transport.

Editor's Note: This story's headline has been updated.

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