Election security

State of security: Minnesota

Who’s in charge: Secretary of State Steve Simon

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said the state’s reliance on paper ballots is a cornerstone of ballot security and vote totals are reviewed by city, county, and state election officials several times before an election is ultimately certified by the state canvassing board.

The electrical systems that do play a part in the states election system have had significant upgrades since 2015 which included an Information Technology Security Team (ITST) to focus strategically on security across all of state systems while also examining best practices for internal and external users of our systems. In addition the Office hired an IT security frim to work with governments and private data to perform a review of the state’s IT security and physical environment.

Minnesota announced in October that it will be working with Microsoft’s Defending Democracy Program to take additional steps to enhance and harden Minnesota’s election cybersecurity in advance of the 2018 general election.

““Outside forces are targeting for attack our instruments of democracy,” Secretary Simon said. “In Minnesota, the stakes are particularly high because we are the #1 state in voter turnout – with a total turnout of 74.7% of eligible voters casting ballots in 2016. ”

Minnesota was awarded $6.6 million in federal funds, which the state matched at five percent for a total of a little over $6.9 million in election security. The state appears to have used the funds wisely and received an election security rating of a "B" by the Center for American Progress with the only criticism being an “unsatisfactory” rating due to weak spots in the state's ballot accounting and reconciliation methods.

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