With its paper ballots and in-person registration requirements, New Hampshire’s voting system is less digitally wired — and therefore somewhat less susceptible to cyberattacks — than many of its peers. But this state, like all others, also maintains an online database with personal information on all of its registered voters. Federal security officials have offered to scan these systems for possible vulnerabilities as part of a broader package of “cyber-hygiene” efforts ahead of the 2018 elections, but New Hampshire election officials have said no thanks. More than 30 states have reportedly partnered with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to safeguard their systems against hacking in advance of this year’s midterm elections. At this point, New Hampshire isn’t one of them — and the state’s elections officials remain wary of allowing the federal government to in any way encroach on their autonomy when it comes to voting procedures.
“We believe that the elections are the purview of the states,” says Deputy Secretary of State Dave Scanlan. “We don’t want to see a federalization of elections, and when you open the door to their help, if it really isn’t needed, it is problematic.”
Scanlan said the Secretary of State’s office hasn’t yet started working with state-level officials on cyber-preparedness efforts for the 2018 elections, but he’s confident that New Hampshire’s Department of Information Technology can keep the door closed to would-be intruders.