Vermont gets $3M for election cybersecurity

MONTPELIER — Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos and U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy on June 20 announced that the state has received $3 million in State Election Security Grants appropriated by Congress to bolster election security efforts and replace aging election infrastructure.
“These funds will allow us to make critical upgrades to our elections systems to bolster their security,” said Secretary Condos. “In this digital age, bad actors are always evolving so we must work diligently to stay one step ahead of those working to interfere with or undermine the integrity of our elections.”
Lincoln Town Clerk Sally Ober said local election officials welcomed the assistance they are getting in doing their jobs.
“When Vermont voters cast their ballots, they are trusting election officials to protect the integrity of their vote. Town Clerks are the front line of this work. We take our jobs seriously, and we rely on a network of state and federal officials to help us defend our elections against potential foreign or domestic threats,” Ober said. “These funds will strengthen our knowledge and deepen the security measures we already have in place for our Elections Management System.”
Funds will be used immediately for:
•  Cyber security training for local election officials.
•  Information security vulnerability testing and upgrading or enhancing cybersecurity safeguards.
•  Implementation of two factor authentication for local election officials.
•  Implementation of a new accessible voting system.
The Elections Division, a division within the Vermont Secretary of State’s office, is also planning for the replacement of aging vote tabulator machines in advance of the 2020 election.
Congress approved $380 million in funds for state election systems in the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2018.
“I want to thank Sen. Leahy for his advocacy securing this critical funding, and thank all members of Congress for authorizing this appropriation,” Condos said. “Time is of the essence with elections rapidly approaching, so we appreciate Congress acting quickly and dispersing the funds with haste.”
Sen. Leahy is vice chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, where he helped secure these funds.
“There is nothing more sacred to our democracy than the security of our elections,” Leahy said. “Every election has consequences, at the local, state and federal level, and jurisdictions across the spectrum are working hard to ensure the security of the ballot box. These funds will help Vermont ensure that it is Vermonters’ voices that are heard on Election Day.”

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