The weakest link in any local voting system is that one county clerk who’s been on the job for three days and opens up an email file that could take down the whole system. The head of every U.S. intelligence agency says Russia attempted to penetrate elections systems nationwide during the 2016 presidential election, and will try again during this year’s midterm elections. In a decentralized election system with more than 10,000 separate jurisdictions, the onus for security is on local officials. “That keeps me awake at night,” said Nancy Blankenship, the clerk for Deschutes County, Oregon. Blankenship, like thousands of other county clerks, is the chief elections official for her area. It’s not so much the threat of foreign hackers changing votes that concerns Blankenship — Oregon is not only a vote-by-mail state, but also does its ballot counting without an internet connection — it’s the possibility that hacking could undermine public confidence in the system.
… For more than a year now, after designating election infrastructure as critical, the federal government has begun working with states to assess the security of their voting systems. But officials say they need more resources to get cybersecurity experts in offices, to increase audits and to update equipment.
A bipartisan bill in the U.S. Senate, which would provide $386 million in federal grants to state election security, has stalled. The bill’s author, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, said in February that more than 40 states rely on a voting system that is at least a decade old.
The U.S. State Department has not spent a dime of the $120 million it was allocated after 2016 to fight Russian election meddling. And for his part, President Donald Trump has not told intelligence agencies to stop Russian attempts to target U.S. election systems.
Full Article: Is Your County Elections Clerk Ready for Russian Hackers?.