BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Kern County officials say more than 40,000 people have already sent in their ballots. But some are still wary of the election process, concerned about its integrity.

County officials say they’re bracing for a wave of Kern residents scrutinizing the counting of votes and verifying ballot signatures on election night. And now, a new report alleges vulnerabilities in the machines used to count ballots. But officials say there’s no reason to worry.

Thousands of voters in Kern will hit the polls on Tuesday. Thousands more will mail their ballots, and thousands already have. Either way, election officials say the process is secure.  

Workers process vote-by-mail ballots in a room scanning signatures by machine before reviewing them by hand. Then, every ballot goes to another room where machines, manufactured by Dominion Voting Systems, tabulate votes.  

These machines have been the target of skepticism by many Kern voters since former Pres. Trump alleged Joe Biden won unfairly in 2020. Top federal officials, and Donald Trump’s own department of homeland security, found no evidence of widespread voter fraud in 2020. But these same accusations, though never substantiated, resurfaced here at home after the recall election.  

Plus a new report from the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency identifies flaws in many versions of these machines … endangering security by potentially allowing attackers to install computer viruses. But taking advantage of these vulnerabilities would require direct physical access to them.

The Cybersecurity report found no evidence dominion systems have ever been exploited in an election … that includes Joe Biden’s 2020 victory. Kern County’s elections office say it’s confident in these machines. Only a select number of election officials are allowed into the ballot counting room, which is protected with security badges. Dozens of security cameras watch ballots from the moment they arrive to the elections office … to the moment machines tabulate votes. But that’s not all.  

“We take one percent of the precincts and and the hand count all of the votes for those one percent of the precincts and compare that to what the machine tabulation was to make sure the machine was working correctly,” said Kern County Registrar of Voters Mary Bedard. “We haven’t had any tabulation errors.”

Should inconsistencies pop up, Kern County can report them to the secretary of state’s office. Bedard says the county’s voting process is so secure, an attacker couldn’t cast your ballot even if they stole it.

“If they did try to vote it, they’d have to forge the signature. If it’s a stranger, they’re not going to know what your signature looks like,” said Bedard. “Even if they’ve seen it, it’s quite hard to forge a signature. The way someone loops certain letters. The way they start a signature, the way they end it. We’re looking at all of that.”

You can also track your ballot using this state-run website: You can enter your personal info, and the site will give you the latest information about your ballot.