Blue Earth County Prepares For Potential Election Interference in 2018
US Intelligence Agencies have called Russia's 2016 attempts at election interference "the boldest yet in the US,"
Minnesota is one of 21 states believed by the federal government to have been targeted by hackers trying to interfere with 2016's election.
Officials from some of the targeted states said computers in Russia were scanning elections systems for weak spots.
Systems in Arizona and Illinois were two states that were breached according to Minnesota's Secretary of State.
The Department of Homeland Security says that no votes were affected.
Minnesota was able to ward off any hacking attempts in 2016 and is focused on maintaining the integrity of the election process in 2018.
"We've been working with the Department of Homeland Security. We worked in 2016 with a private vendor that came in and tried to probe our weaknesses to make us stronger and make us better." Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said. "We're going to have to do some of those same things again this year."
While state–by–state elections are regulated by the legislatures at that level, federal assistance is need to oversee potential holes in security.
"We want to make sure we can go back and verify the results. So real time we will be deploying people," DHS Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen. "We are working with state and local people, we have ways to through real–time machine intelligence understand threatening indicators as they are introduced into the system."
Ahead of this year's election season, Blue Earth County is taking measures so voters can focus on the actual politics of the race and not worry about the legitimacy of their votes.
"We vote on paper ballots so we always have that paper record to secure the vote," said Micheal Stalberger, Director of Taxpayer Services for Blue Earth County. "But then behind the scenes we're also making sure that we're securing the rosters and the data about voters so that we know that everybody who's registering is legitimately registering.
Top US officials warn that Russia will attempt to influence the midterm elections this fall and are requesting more federal assistance to prevent it.
----KEYC News 12