AUSTIN — With midterm elections aloof over 100 canicule away, there’s chat that Texas charcoal accessible to hacking.
At atomic that’s the appraisal from the aldermanic Board on House Administration, which letters that Texas is one of eight states “that accept cogent acclamation aegis vulnerabilities but may not be planning on application federal abetment to abode their better vulnerabilities.”
The committee’s “Election Aegis Update” came as intelligence admiral abide exploring Russian arrest in the 2016 acclamation and advancing hacking threats.
According to the report, Texas’ vulnerabilities include: paperless voting machines; abortion to crave post-election audits in jurisdictions with paperless machines; no claim for acclamation admiral to accept cybersecurity training; and a award that Texas’ voter-registration arrangement needs upgrades to accretion acceptance as “secure, redundant, and accurate.”
But the Texas secretary of state’s appointment said admiral actuality are acclamation the issues.
“Our bureau has formed for years to ensure that elections basement in Texas is defended and not accountable to abetment or interference, so we booty affair with the contempo appraisal by associates of the House Board on Administration — who never accomplished out to our appointment to seek ascribe for their report,” Sam Taylor, a agent for the secretary of state’s office, wrote in an email. “Nevertheless, the Texas Secretary of State’s appointment continues to booty any and all threats with the accomplished akin of seriousness, and we accept taken a cardinal of proactive measures to aegis Texas’ acclamation basement adjoin abeyant cyber threats.”
The secretary of accompaniment additionally took affair with the allegation that Texas has not adumbrated how it will absorb $23.3 actor in Advice America Vote Act funding.
In a July 18 letter to the U.S. Acclamation Abetment Commission’s controlling director, Texas secretary of state, Rolando Pablos, wrote that the money will be acclimated to advice accommodated three goals:
• Provide aegis casework to Texas canton acclamation admiral to abode acclamation auditing and cybersecurity needs.
• Enhance aegis and affiliation of Texas’ statewide computerized aborigine allotment database.
• Assist counties and added bounded political subdivisions in negotiating affairs to access new voting equipment
Between 2003-12, Texas sub-granted added than $150 actor in Advice America Vote Act funds to advice counties buy new acclamation equipment.
In its report, the board recommended that “Texas should accent advance its voter-registration system, replacing its paperless machines, and implementing post-election audits as anon as possible.”
But Chris Davis, Williamson County’s elections administrator, said Texas’ $23 actor in federal allotment is “a bead in the bucket,” compared to the amount of outfitting Texas 254 counties with new voting machines.
“It’s added allegorical than anything,” said Davis, who is additionally admiral of the Texas Association of Elections Administrators.
Davis said that it would amount his county, which has aing to 1,000 machines, upwards of $5 actor to buy new, upgraded equipment.
Pablos addressed the amount of voting apparatus upgrades in his letter to the EAC.
“Any cogent accomplishment to alter voting accessories throughout the absolute Accompaniment of Texas, or any added accompaniment of commensurable size, would crave a essentially above federal charge in adjustment to accomplish a allusive appulse on subsidizing the costs to the counties in their efforts to improve their voting equipment.”
Amy Cohen, controlling ambassador for National Association of Accompaniment Acclamation Directors, has apprehend the aldermanic report, but beneath to altercate it on the record.
Cohen did, however, say that “all of the states mentioned in this report, and nationwide, booty cyber aegis actively and are demography accomplish to ensure that voters can accept aplomb in the after-effects in November and beyond.”
John Austin covers the Texas Statehouse for CNHI LLC’s newspapers and websites. Reach him at [email protected]
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