State of security: Alabama

Who’s in charge: Secretary of State John H. Merrill

Although Secretary of State John H. Merrill has said his office is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to secure Alabama’s election systems, the specifics aren’t quite clear, a local newspaper wrote.

The state does use paper ballots and follows the minimum cybersecurity best practices, the Center for American Progress report noted. But the assessment took issue with Alabama’s failure to mandate post-election audits and its practice of allowing UOCAVA voters to use a web portal to return their ballots. Under a contract signed with a vendor earlier this year, anyone that has access to the state’s voter registration system was to receive cybersecurity training before the 2018 election.

Alabama requires voting machines to be tested against EAC Voluntary Voting System Guidelines and mandates that election officials conduct pre-election logic and accuracy testing on machines designated for an election.

The state received $6.16 million dollars in federal funds for election security and the issue has become a topic of debate between Merrill and his opponent in the upcoming midterms, Democrat Heather Milam.

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