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Connecticut Bolstering Electoral Cybersecurity Infrastructure After Russian Intrusion

Chion Wolf
Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut will benefit from new federal money to safeguard its elections process. The cash is part of the $1.3 trillion spending bill passed by Congress last week.

Connecticut will get between $3 million to $5 million. However there’s a match requirement, which means the state needs provide five percent of the money received.

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill announced last week she wanted to bolster the state’s election cybersecurity. She told Connecticut Public Radio’s Where We Live, the state was one of 21 that were targeted before the 2016 presidential elections.

“What actually happened, we were scanned, apparently by some IP addresses from Russian agencies. It is indeed true,” Merrill said.

Merrill said it’s important for local election officials in each town to be aware of the latest protocol and improve their own security.

But she said it’s not actual votes that are at risk. The question is the voter registration database, which allows the secretary to see who’s eligible to vote and where they reside.

“The scanning machine that you actually vote on is not on the internet. It’s not electronic, really, except it has a little chip that records your vote and, as I said before, we have paper ballots so we compare the number on the machine to the number of pieces of  papers. So there’s plenty of checks in the system,” Merrill added.

Merrill is also co-chair of the National Association of Secretaries of States election cybersecurity task force.

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