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Connecticut towns secure election systems in anticipation of Russian interference in November

State received $5.4 million to enhance the safety of in-person voting

State officials are cracking down on security two months before the election.

There is no question that the Russians interfered in the 2016 election.

The question now is will they succeed again in 2020?

“We know the Russians have a unique blend of interest, intent, and capability that makes us all very worried,” says Senator Chris Murphy.

The federal government is fighting back with security reinforcements, including by giving Connecticut $5 million dollars just to ramp up election security.

“There have been multiple Russian IP addresses identified as those trying to influence both our systems but also the campaign of disinformation,” says Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill.

Towns have secured software, instituted dual authentication, required password changes, and train local officials to spot possible hacks.

While Murphy says there is no evidence that foreign officials are sending out false absentee ballots, they are trying to sway voter opinions through misinformation on social media.

“Over half of the content on Twitter today regarding Coronavirus is likely coming from foreign sources,” says Murphy. “Of the content on social media today regarding Reopen America campaigns and messaging, a recent study suggests 60-70% of that is foreign-based propaganda, most likely coming from Russia.”

Facebook says they are going to better police political misinformation by restricting new political ads in the week before the election. They’ll also take down posts that convey misinformation about COVID-19 and voting.

Starting Tuesday, The Secretary of the State’s office will be sending out applications for absentee ballots to all active, registered voters.

All voters are eligible to vote by absentee ballot for the 2020 election by checking the COVID-19 excuse on the application.

Although absentee ballot applications will be mailed to every eligible voter, they are also available in English and Spanish at myvote.ct.gov/absentee.

When the town or city receives the absentee ballot application, they will confirm that the person is eligible to vote.

Connecticut law says absentee ballots can only be distributed after October 2.

Due to the small amount of time between October 2 and November 3, the Secretary of the State’s office said it is imperative that voters return their applications and their ballots as soon as possible. “Returning the applications and the ballots early will make it easier for the town clerks to do the work that is necessary to process all of the applications and the ballots.”