MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Across the country, there is concern about election interference and hacking.

Alabama’s election officials say using paper ballots prevents such interference.

“I am very confident in the paper ballot,” said Darryl Parker, director of the Montgomery County Election Center.

Parker said he’s confident the center’s voting machines, as well as other machines across the state, were secure.

“Our machines are very safe,” he said. “We don’t connect to the internet in the state of Alabama, none of our machines are connected to WiFi.”

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said the state received a $7 million federal grant to fight cyber fraud. Some of that technology includes electronic poll books, new computers, and an updated voting method for people with disabilities.

“One of the things that we’ve tried to do is increase the level of technology when it is appropriate,” Merrill said.

Merrill said he’s been to Washington, D.C. several times to speak with lawmakers about measures Alabama takes to protect the vote and that he believes Alabama is leading the way in protecting elections.

“We want our people to know that when their vote is cast for the candidate of their choice, it’s counted for the candidate of their choice,” he said.

Merrill agreed that paper ballots work and said they will remain in place as long as he is in office.

There will be a primary on March 3.