Are our elections secure? Minnesota's in better shape than most states

They should not be too nervous, Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon stated Tuesday, Aug. 29, throughout a go to to Detroit Lakes.

“My largest shock about this job is the time, effort and power that I and the remainder of the employees spend on cyber safety points,” stated Simon, who was elected in 2014. He campaigned on operating the workplace with a Joan Growe-type of excellence, and anticipated to cope with simple points: increasing entry to voting, eradicating limitations to voting, making enterprise providers as streamlined as attainable.

“Because the Russia hacking information broke there’s been a ton of media curiosity and group curiosity (in election cybersecurity),” he stated. “Staying a step forward of the dangerous guys is tough work—we put collectively a cybersecurity staff in our workplace and employed an outdoor contractor.”

‘It is arduous to hack a pen’

In Minnesota, polling locations are thought-about safe, because the state makes use of paper ballots and doesn’t permit the digital counting machines to be related to the Web through the tabulating course of, Simon stated.

“The election structure in Minnesota is previous-faculty,” he stated. “Take a pen, fill in an oval. It is arduous to hack a pen.” Minnesota has lengthy had a bipartisan consensus that voting ought to all the time embrace a paper path, he added. If there’s doubt concerning the integrity of a vote rely, election judges can all the time return and examine the paper ballots.

That is not true all over the place in the USA. Simon stated there are sixteen or 17 states through which voters use contact-display machines that create no paper path by any means.

Including additional safety to the method in Minnesota, he stated, “the reporting system from the counties to our workplace is an encrypted system. Plus, we’ve got people who speak to one another—that is the vote complete we despatched, is that the identical complete you acquired? Plus we do election audits.”

Minnesota can also be protected by a really decentralized system of over four,000 precincts, all with their very own native election judges, many who’ve served for years and are devoted to the democratic course of. Any conspiracy to rig the vote must contain hundreds of individuals, he stated.

A much bigger concern is that hackers might get entry the central voter registration info and trigger hassle.

“What if somebody goes in and wipes out all of the voter registrations? Our backup is similar-day voter registration,” Simon stated. “It might be hectic within the polls, however all four million voters might register that day.”

Once more, Minnesota stands out in that space—Simon stated the…

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