Washington State and Local Officials Talk Election Security

Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman and Skagit County Auditor Sandy Perkins fielded a series of questions recently on cybersecurity and the election process at an event organized by the League of Women Voters.

by Brandon Stone, Skagit Valley Herald / September 20, 2019
Shutterstock/Song_about_summer

(TNS) — Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman joined local officials Monday for an update on election security.

Wyman and Skagit County, Wash., Auditor Sandy Perkins fielded a series of questions on cybersecurity and the election process at the event organized by the League of Women Voters of Skagit County.

“When we don’t do our job well, you lose your confidence in our elections,” Wyman said.

This is why reports of Russian interference in the 2016 election were so concerning to election officials, she said. And while she doesn’t believe any ballot in the state was altered, the perception of illegitimacy can be just as impactful as a real cyberattack.

Wyman said her office established a security operations center to offer technical assistance for auditors in small and medium-sized counties, which often have small IT staffs.

Because of its use of mail-in ballots, Perkins said this state is particularly immune to the manipulation of election results.

“We have an audit-able paper record for every vote,” she said.

Further, Wyman said the machines that tabulate votes are never connected to the internet.

Perkins said the county is working on a cyber incident response plan, which would set protocols in the event of a hack.

“The scary thing about hacking is that it’s in their favor,” Wyman said. “We have to get it right 100 percent of the time. They just have to get it right once.”

©2019 the Skagit Valley Herald (Mount Vernon, Wash.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. 

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