HARTFORD — As towns and cities across Connecticut prepare for primaries Tuesday, the issue of election security is on the minds of many.
“Make no mistake, our nation is under attack, our election system is under siege. The interference by the Russians in 2016 was just a dress rehearsal for what we are going to see in upcoming elections,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal.
Senator Blumenthal along with Connecticut Secretary of the State, Denise Merrill want increased security when it comes to the polls. Not just here in Connecticut but nationwide. According to Blumenthal there was Russian interference in all 50 states in the 2016 election, while they did not gain access to Connecticut’s system, Blumenthal says more funding is needed to increase election security.
“That the thing we’re talking about is not the thing you vote on is the tabulators. Tabulators are now connected to the internet. However, we do have a statewide voter file that is not on the internet but on a computerized system, it is a statewide computerized list and that is the thing that was probed,” said Merrill.
Connecticut received $5 million from federal government to increase security, but according to Merrill it’s going to take more than that to update the systems.
Everyone was in agreement that the best way to protect voters and their votes is with paper ballots. The paper ballots are what Connecticut has and according to Senator Blumenthal they should be the gold standard. But it’s the tabulators that need updating. According to Merrill, the Tabulators have not been updated since early 2000’s.
“If there is one thing that a state can do to improve their security, it’s to use a voter verified paper ballot. That means a paper ballot that is held in the hand of the voter and marked,” said Alex Russell, Director of the UConn Voting Center.
Blumenthal is also calling for legislation that would make it a federal crime to hack any voting system in a federal election.