Cybersecurity

Improving election infrastructure and cybersecurity for the long-haul

With ballot tabulations being finalized and election results certified, the 2022 midterm election is ending, bringing weeks, even months, of commentary and speculation to an end. As many set their sights on the remaining months in Congress and to what 2023 will look like in Washington, D.C., it’s worth taking time to think more deeply about the system that holds up our entire democracy – Americans’ ability to cast their ballots.

Every election year, hundreds of thousands of West Virginians fill out their ballots and participate in the world’s greatest democratically elected constitutional republic. And while it’s usually easy to vote on election day, at your early voting location, or if you’re out of town or deployed, to fill out your absentee ballot, the system that ensures every vote is counted in a timely and efficient manner is far more complicated. There are many individuals involved in the process along with various systems.

Thousands of people work tirelessly to administer our elections, and they have been

doing so amidst challenges that are unfair and, in some cases, truly shocking. This is a terrible set of circumstances – as our poll workers and election professionals are essential to free and fair elections and the confidence we expect as Americans that our votes are counted accurately.

Many counties in America lack the funds to keep voting equipment up to date. Given threats of cyber intrusions by foreign actors, we must invest in cyber security for our election systems. And in an era of rightfully increased technological scrutiny on our election systems, it is essential that we avoid forcing poll locations to rely on voting machines past their intended lifespan. Outdated voting machines risk slower results, long lines, and weaker physical and digital safeguards.

We should be doing what we can to make our voting process as secure and seamless as possible, not just for the voters, but for those who dedicate their time each election cycle to seeing the process through for their fellow Americans. It’s critical that we support our infrastructure by investing in its upkeep and advancement, especially as voter registration numbers continue to rise and the pressures on our election offices to conduct elections with speed and efficiency increase.

While administration of elections occurs at the state and local levels, federal funding is the clear answer for providing election offices with the additional needed resources. Fortunately, as Congress is preparing their budget for the next fiscal year, this has been considered. With a $400 million allocation currently present in the proposed federal budget specifically for election infrastructure updates, including cyber security and other investments, this would be a major step in supporting county clerks, poll workers, and the election process.

The $400 million would be divided across all states, giving local election officials additional resources they need. It is worth underscoring again that these funds would be used to ensure basic needs are met, including secure voting machines, and that the funds would not require states or local officials to change the way elections are administered.

Election officials across West Virginia need the support of Congress to get this funding across the finish line. As members consider their priorities for the upcoming year and where they want to see money spent, I hope that the infrastructure and security of our elections will be a top priority.

Ben Franklin has been attributed with the saying, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” in response to a question about our form of government. Let’s keep it. We must provide the resources that provide for a secure election system.

(Daniel Linville is chair of the Infrastructure and Technology Committee of the West Virginia House of Delegates. He is from Cabell County.)

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doing so amidst challenges that are unfair and, in some cases, truly shocking. This is a terrible set of circumstances – as our poll workers and election professionals are essential to free and fair elections and the confidence we expect as Americans that our votes are counted accurately.

Source: https://www.weirtondailytimes.com/opinion/local-columns/2022/11/improving-election-infrastructure-and-cybersecurity-for-the-long-haul/

Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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