Citing national security officials’ warnings that Minnesota’s voter database had already been targeted by elements “at the behest of the Russian government,” the secretary of state is asking for funding to update its statewide registration system. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said he’s been in multiple meetings with Department of Homeland Security officials — including a meeting as late as February — relating to foreign attempts to affect the integrity of Minnesota’s voting system. “They are sobering,” Simon said of the meetings, for which he was recently given “secret” security clearance — meaning, he said, he couldn’t give too many details. In 2016, entities associated with the Russian government targeted 21 states, including Minnesota, national security officials have said. Two of those states — Illinois and Arizona — had their state databases penetrated.
The databases do not affect voting results but include registered voters’ personal information, including such things as names and addresses, social security information, residential history and drivers’ license information.
Minnesota’s database, known as the Statewide Voter Registration System, had its defenses probed, but no hack was attempted, Simon said.
“They (national security officials) have publicly said we should expect more of this, and from more sources,” Simon said.