Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said Monday that his office will evaluate the security of the state’s voter-registration system, a target of Russian hackers before the 2016 presidential election. Pennsylvania was one of 21 states whose election data were sought by Russian hackers, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said last year. Though there was no evidence of a breach, DePasquale said, the revelation prompted him and others to test the system’s security. “This is something that has been talked about both locally and nationally for quite some time,” DePasquale said. “I believe it is the right time to make sure we are doing everything we can to make sure our voting system in Pennsylvania is secure.”
The audit will focus on the Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors (SURE), which holds the registration information of more than eight million voters in the state’s 67 counties. The SURE system is run by the Pennsylvania Department of State.
The audit will be completed and its results will be sent to the Department of State so it can make necessary changes for the 2020 presidential election, DePasquale said. The process will assess whether the SURE system’s records are accurate and secure and whether it is likely to be completed by early 2019, a spokesperson for the Auditor General’s Office said.
Officials are looking to replace and improve the 16-year-old SURE system to ensure voter data security. But the new database will likely not be in effect in time for the 2020 election.
Last summer, state officials acknowledged that Russian hackers “scanned” state websites before the 2016 presidential election, searching for openings to exploit.