Changes to election procedures and assistance from the Washington Air National Guard are underway, as Washington state prepares for the 2018 midterm elections. After learning that it was one of the 21 states whose voter registration database was targeted, Washington is taking extra measures to stay secure. While Washington’s voter registration database wasn’t breached, rumors are swirling that those states targeted in 2016 could be targeted again in 2018, according to Danielle Root, voting manager at the Center for American Progress. “Many national security experts and officials have warned that 2016 was likely a testing ground for Russia,” said Root, so states must stay vigilant. Voter registration databases are an obvious target for attack, said Dan Weiske, advisor to the National Cybersecurity Center. “Any of the publicly connected systems, like the registration systems, are going to be the largest areas of attack and the highest risk,” said Weiske. “There’s a lot of data that sits on those, and it’s accessible by the public.”
As for the actual voting system, Washington has one of the most secure methods, still using vote-by-mail paper ballots. “Paper is the most hack-proof way of securing our elections, with the current technology available and under the current threat environment,” said Root.
No matter how hard someone may try, “security experts agree that you can not prevent attacks,” said Marian Schneider, president of nonprofit Verified Voting Foundation.
“We’re going to instead direct our resources into monitoring, detecting, responding and recovering,” Schneider said.