Who’s in charge: Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts William Francis Galvin

Massachusetts only used a fraction of the $7.9 million in federal funding it received to shore up 2018 midterm election security, investing in training and new equipment. The bulk, the state said, will be used between now and the 2020 election to replace equipment, buy new technology and support automatic voter registration, which Governor Charlie Baker recently signed into law.

Officials seemingly have reason to feel fairly confident – Massachusetts has long made cybersecurity a priority. And, according to Common  Cause Massachusetts the electoral processes in the state “are relatively safe,” relying on paper ballots and not connecting voting systems to the internet, “meaning that any attempts at election interference would need to involve physical tampering and could not occur remotely.”   

What’s more, “the state’s Voter Registration Information System (VRIS) is a closed system, also not connected to the internet,” D. Wesley Slate, Jr., city clerk of Beverly, Mass., said in a letter. “Voter registration itself, the lists of registered voters that we generate for election day, and all election-related data, are contained in that closed system, accessible only via a private line circuit from my office to Boston, an arrangement duplicated in every city and town in the Commonwealth, so that we are connected to that system rather than via an internet IP address connection.”

Massachusetts did get a come-uppance from the Center for American Progress, which admonished the state for letting voters submit absentee ballots electronically and recommended it mandate “more rigorous post-election audits after every election, not just after presidential elections.”