New funding is now in place to help secure Wisconsin’s elections information from hackers. Federal officials have provided the state with $7 million from the Help America Vote Act to better harden the state’s election system from outside interference.
Wisconsin Elections Commission spokesman Reid Magney says the commission is currently investigating how best to spend that funding.
One potential use would be to maintain and update the state’s electronic voter registration systems. “That system has to be connected to the internet because we have 3,000 users across the state in village, town and city halls who use the system to update the voter registration lists for their communities,” says Magney. “That’s something that is a potential target.”
One thing the commission isn’t as worried about is the individual voting machines themselves. Magney says one reason is that every vote in the state is backed up with a paper ballot or record. “That’s what gets counted in the event of a recount, not just the electronic data. Our recount in 2012 showed that the equipment was counting accurately and we have audit procedures in place to ensure that continues.”
“The Commission has been developing a new, comprehensive election security plan for more than a year,” WEC interim administrator Meagan Wolfe said. “These new federal funds will help the Elections Commission put our plan into action and work with local election officials to ensure our systems and our votes are secure.”