Election security effort brings Vermont Secretary of State to D.C.

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As voters prepare to head to the polls for the midterm elections this November, a cyber-security expert says the threat to our election system is still very real.

Dr. Eric Cole served on the Commission for Cyber-Security under President Obama.

“They’re going to break into routers, they’re going to break into computers, they’re going to break into voting systems, anything that has internet accessibility is at risk,” he said.

Dr. Cole says any computer system can be breached, but the question is: are states defending against the threat?

“What people have to realize is — they’re a target, you’re a target, I’m a target and everyone’s a target,” he said.

And as bad actors continue to look for new ways to compromise the voting system, Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos says states are working to safeguard our votes.

“We blacklist IP addresses as we go,” Condos said. “Our system does not allow IP address from Russia, Bosnia or southeast Asia to get into our system — it’s automatically blocked off.”

Condos says election integrity and the confidence of the American public in voting systems are the real issues. He says states across the country must continue to work to make sure voting systems are safe and protected.

“Use paper ballots so you have a paper trail,” Condos said. “Per federal mandate, we have to seal and store those ballots for 22 months post-election. We also do a post-election audit within 30 days of the election.”

“There absolutely is meddling in elections,” Dr. Cole said. “There’s absolutely hacking of computer systems.”

Cole says it’s like every other part of our lives…we have to accept and manage the risks.

Condos is also testifying tomorrow before the Senate Rules & Administration Committee about elections and the cyber-security of them.

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