The advent of new voting technology has brought election-security threats that state officials are seeking to shore up with additional resources. At an Assembly hearing in Manahttan Tuesday, state Board of Elections officials said they would be seeking $27 million for the upcoming fiscal year — nearly $15.5 million more than the current year — to help enhance security as well as update the state voter registration and campaign finance systems. Election officials said at a similar hearing last year that the state’s three-tiered election systems are unlikely to be hacked, but they remain wary of threats. “We know we’re defending, but we don’t know what we’re defending against or what exact part they’re going to go (after),” state BOE Co-Executive Director Todd Valentine said.
Even if state systems generally are solid, 57 counties and New York City all have their own IT systems that must be protected at the local level. Local systems aren’t broken out by department either, which is to say that a county board of elections may not be treated as a separate entity for IT purposes.
As such, a malware attack on Schuyler County IT systems shortly before the September primary elections also affected the county Board of Elections and other county operations. Schoharie County also had hackers “knocking on the firewall” last year, county IT Director Scott Haverly said at the hearing.