When S.C. voters whittle down the list of who will become their next governor on June 12, election officials want to ensure their voting information is protected from attacks – including Russian hackers. State election officials are asking the Legislature to give their agency $250,000 in added money so they can make any needed changes to the state’s voter registration system and its network if voter information is compromised. “Security has always been important to us,” said spokesman Chris Whitmire of the S.C. Election Commission, which is asking for a total of $24.9 million in the state budget that starts July 1. “But, certainly, things changed in 2016 with the emerging threats that were out there.”
In 2016, Russian hackers tried to gain access to millions of the country’s voter registration records.
In South Carolina, election officials told lawmakers that on Election Day there were 150,000 attempts to gain access into the state’s voting system, which secures information on roughly 3.2 million registered voters.
Those attempts did not just come from hackers, Whitmire said. Some of the attempts could have been from bots, researchers and private companies looking to make money off the state by catching gaps in its voting system, elections officials have been told.