We still don't have the full results from Iowa yet, thanks, at least in part, to a malfunctioning app. The chaos in Iowa has some wondering if there is any chance of similar chaos here in Massachusetts, with our primary less than a month away. Massachusetts Secretary of State Bill Galvin is the responsible for elections in Massachusetts. He spoke with WGBH News' All Things Considered anchor Arun Rath. This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Arun Rath: Just based on what's happening this week, are we using an app at any stage of our process?

Bill Galvin: No, no. We only use paper ballots. I mean, we transmit some records electronically after the fact, but it's very locally based. So, each community takes its own full tally, they deal with their own issues and they transmit the results to us in various ways. In the end, they can do it electronically, but we get results very quickly from all of them. And there are many cross-checks in our system. I think it's important to note that what was in Iowa was a caucus. And while caucuses can be a charming event, they're not terribly efficient. It's also a party administered event, it is not administered by the state, it's an internal party event. Our primary, as many states, most states, in fact, is a state event. So the state has a certain obligation to all of its voters. Ours is much more like New Hampshire, which is coming up next week. I'm not here to attack the caucus process, but I think it has to be pointed out that it's distinctly different from an election as such. Candidly, as an election administrator, I'm concerned that this undercut confidence in the electoral process across the country and I hope it didn't.

Rath: It's easy to understand security in terms of handling the paper ballots. In terms of security for the digital side of things when they do get tallied electronically and how those results get handed over, how is security at that level handled?

Galvin: Well, we have a closed system. Our system is not on the internet. You can only get in from your town and you can't get into another town's report. There are a lot of firewalls around it. You can't get in if you don't have the right passwords. We also have the cards to fall back on, the actual paper cards have to be retained. So if there is a question, you go back and you count the cards all over again. And that happens a lot in recounts for lesser offices, usually not for statewide offices, and I can't recall one for president. It's far from a foolproof system, but as I heard my colleague in New Hampshire, Mr. Gardner, say yesterday, it's a simple system. And that's what they have there and that's what we have here. It's a simple but reliable system and I'm confident that hopefully we won't have any problems other than the problems of people showing up and having issues where they vote and things like that, that are traditional problems.

Rath: We've run through the ways in which what happens here in Massachusetts is very different than the process in Iowa which, no offense to Iowa, is very reassuring. Was there anything, though, from what you saw in Iowa this week that is instructive or anything that you could see that could be used to improve elections here?

Galvin: Well, I don't think anything I saw in Iowa could be used to improve elections. Instructive in the sense of, I think when you deal with technology, you have to make sure the vendors you're dealing with have been tested. Here in Massachusetts, every machine has to be tested a couple of days before the actual vote. They do a test deck of cards to make sure the machine will read properly. Apparently, there was very little testing done out in Iowa. Don't ever assume that the system is going to work as it's supposed to. You always have to have fall-backs. As I described to you earlier, we do have-fall backs. First of all, you have paper cards, which can be hand-counted and are in fact hand-counted in close races. We've had a number of recent congressional races where, in fact, they were hand counted.

You also have various mathematical cross-checks with it built into the system to verify, to make sure the numbers make sense. And then, you have constantly looking at the numbers to make sure that they're right. I mean, it's not a simple exercise of putting it in an app. And that just isn't what we do. But it gets back to the basic difference between a primary and a caucus, which is basically a collective decision where people move their ballots around. So, you have all that variability going on in a caucus which you do not have in a primary. It's a simple process. One person, one vote.