NH secretary of state says voting is secure

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SALEM, N.H. (WCAX) Voting in the New Hampshire primary started at midnight in a handful of rural pockets of the Granite State, but will voters there be able to trust that their vote will count?

Secretary of State Bill Gardner says the voting system's been tested and is ready to go.

However, the state did not allow the Department of Homeland Security to review cybersecurity of its voter file, and college students will have to declare residency this year, which will be a new wrinkle for some.

Gardner says there should be no concern – in fact, the biggest risk he sees isn't within the system, but in voters potentially losing faith that their votes will count.

"It's really important that people have confidence in the integrity of the process," Gardner said. "The people of New Hampshire that have been through elections before have a very high approval of the process."

Gardner served on President Trump's short-lived and controversial voter fraud commission, which ultimately did not find evidence of any substantial problems.

While Gardner did suggest voter identification laws might give New Hampshire voters more confidence, he strongly rejected the president's evidenceless assertion that out-of-state students were bused in during 2016.

State leaders almost canceled the iconic midnight vote tradition this year, after it came to light that multiple people with ties to the area voted there in 2016 despite not living there. Gardner says those questions have been addressed.

New Hampshire always has one of the highest turnout rates in the nation, but Gardner says they've printed 1 million ballots, enough to cover every legal voter.

As for technology, Gardner proudly noted the state never switched to electronic voting machines, and some of the ballot boxes actually date back to the late-1800s.