State of security: Michigan

Who's in charge: Secretary of State Ruth Johnson

A lot has happened with election security in Michigan since the 2016 election put security on the map. The state has acquired new equipment and used at least part of its $11 million in federal grants to upgrade its systems, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has said, according to WKAR report.

The report cites spokesman Fred Woodham expressing confidence in the state’s “very paper-based process,” which includes ballots and printouts.

Woodham also said Michigan’s qualified voter file “is more secure, designed with security in mind,” noting that the state has “been continually testing our systems that are online and computer based, to check for vulnerabilities and address them if they do appear.”

Michigan tabulation machines are not connected to the internet and the state will run post-election audits on them.

Woodhams says tabulators are not connected to the internet, and post-election audits will verify that voting machines tabulated ballots properly.

The two women vying for the Secretary of State post in the midterms have squared off over election security with Republication Mary Treder Lang advocating for certifying poll workers and further securing the voting equipment from hackers, according to Michigan Radio. Her “One Citizen, One Vote” plan includes increasing  “increase state-of-the-art election training not only for the clerks, but also for the poll workers.”

Treder Lang’s opponent, Democrat  Jocelyn Benson,  pledged to bolster election security with risk-limiting audits post election and mete out stronger penalties for hackers as well as train election workers.  

“I also want to create an election security commission that will continually advise myself and our office on any type of threats to the security of our elections so that we can stay ahead of them and implement data-driven, solution-oriented plans to address them — to protect our elections — all while, at the same time, on the same parallel track, increasing access to the vote through things like no-reason absentee, early voting, and other policies that data has shown will increase turnout across the entire state,” Benson, according to Michigan Radio

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