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The vote, both the action of casting a ballot and the proper accounting of the ballot cast in Northwest Arkansas, is very, very safe.

It is also accurately accounted for, and properly administered to reflect the intention of the voters -- without the interference of any means to alter, change or manipulate the ballot from those cast in the voting booth.

To say that, I can state with certainty I trust the individual election commissions and their staffs in both Benton and Washington Counties for honesty, integrity and fairness in all phases of preparing the ballots, counting the ballots when cast and accurately relaying the proper vote.

That is not to say that close vote tallies should not, as they often are, be recounted to ensure accuracy.

Nor is it 100 percent certain that paper absentee ballots are always marked properly by those voting with pen in hand. That is why absentee ballots are always examined by a panel of election officials before counting.

A reader wrote me recently about disillusionment in regard to voting in presidential elections where an electoral college is used to elect the President of the United States. I understand that dilemma, but as this is not a year to vote for the President of the United States. I shall leave that debate and discussion for two years from now.

Voting in the General Election in 2018, a non-presidential year, will not include delegates, Superdelegates or the use of the Electoral College to determine the outcome of these races.

All the General Election races depend upon candidates receiving a majority of the votes cast to win these races.

Casting a ballot in the General Election of 2018 will include only one set of federal races in our area -- the selection of a Congressman in Arkansas.

There are races for all four of Arkansas' Congressional seats this year, including the two congressional districts that reach into Northwest Arkansas.

In our immediate area, the state offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Land Commissioner, Auditor of State, State Treasurer and a Justice on the State Supreme Court will be on all the General Election ballots.

Other races appearing on ballots (depending upon the voter's address) may include local races for state senators and state representatives, and also area county offices, such as county judge, circuit and county clerk, treasurer, assessor and even justices of the peace. Even more local area city races for mayors and city council members and some scattered judicial races for area district courts will be on the ballot.

A reader conveyed in a personal note his worry about the voting system being "compromised."

My reply is that the "closed end" system of casting a vote in Benton and Washington Counties is much safer than using a credit or debit card in a retail establishment as far as being "hacked" or compromised electronically.

Votes are cast into actual machines, each with a paper trail to back up the data, and that data is on a drive within the voting machine, not transported electronically via a signal which could be intercepted and changed.

Our voting system has the integrity of being able to accurately count and record the exact intentions of the person in the voting booth to select their choices and relay those choices into a count, at the district and county level, to be counted by the election commission.

The transmission of the exact count(s) from Benton and Washington Counties can then be reliably sent to Little Rock for exact counting within the state system without worrying about "hacking" or manipulation.

The reader also expressed a sincere concern about confidence in our election officials -- that, my dear reader, can only be validated by casting a vote in the General Election for November 2018.

Your vote in the November 2018 General Election does count.

To ensure confidence in the candidates you trust, be sure and vote in the upcoming election. Just wishing for change to come is fruitless. Voting can change the system and those who seek office in the system.

• • •

Maylon Rice is a former journalist who worked for several northwest Arkansas publications. He can be reached via email at Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Editorial on 09/12/2018

Print Headline: How 'safe' is my vote? Very safe indeed

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