Elections Need Protection from Cyber-attacks

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Minnesota lawmakers and voters are going to be engaged with conversations in 2018 that can affect election security and voter access.

Secretary of State Steve Simon views security of Minnesota’s voting system and reliability of equipment as key to maintaining confidence in Minnesota’s voting system and broad access. In an NPR new report, Simon addresses growing concern among the nation’s secretaries of state about growing vulnerability to cyber-attacks, include sustained Russian interference. It’s anticipated that Simon will be working with legislative leaders to advance legislation in 2018 to improve cyber-attack defenses and upgrade aging equipment.

Another major discussion about elections is expected to be launched in the legislature. The Legislative Audit Commission directed the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) to conduct a review of Minnesota’s election system. The OLA report is expected to be released early in March. While there is great confidence in Minnesota's elections system, it is typical for these reports to identify opportunities for improvement. Voter access advocates fully expect any deficiencies identified in the report, no matter how small, to be used as justification to call for changes in Minnesota’s voting system.  Specifically, it’s anticipated that Senate State Government Finance and Policy and Elections Committee chair, Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer (R-30) to call for a new provisional ballot process (SF514 / HF729) that effectively undermines Minnesota’s tradition of same-day registration. It’s expected this OLA report may also trigger renewed interest in voter photo ID or other changes that tend to suppress voter participation, particularly in community of color, low income communities or among young people and seniors.

MCF addressed this myth of voter fraud argument in the fall issue of Giving Forum.  The story, by elections expert Lorraine Minnite, points to the real need to improve cyber-security and voting equipment.

Find More By