Today the Conference Committee hearing on HF14 (SF93), a bill to authorize the Secretary of State to spend federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funding on election cybersecurity, heard from Noah Praetz, Former Director of Cook County Elections in Illinois and an Adjunct Professor at DePaul University College College of Law teaching Election Law. He testified on his experience with Cook County when the Illinois voter registration database was breached by the Russian government.
It was interesting to hear about the risks of online voting. Minnesota was one of four states that experienced an attempted attack in 2016. And Minnesota is the only state that hasn’t spent any of the allotted HAVA funds.
It doesn’t relate to broadband infrastructure but it does relate to innovation, smart cities (counties, states, country), digital equity and use of technology and policy.
You can watch the video
Or read my rough notes below…
House has given a few versions. Senate has turned down
Senators are not in the room
Noah Praetz – from IL is speaking from his experience with breeches/attempted attacks in IL>
We must work on improving infrastructure and technology surrounding state elections.
The 2016 Election showed irrefutably that cyber strikes will happen.
“Motto of current election officials – Defend, detect, Recover. Also make sure no attack surpasses our resiliency.” @noah_praetz #mnleg ” We must believe intelligence when they say attacks will be attempted.”
It took weeks for us to recognize the breech in IL. If we had known to be prepared we could have been better prepared. You know to be prepared.
The federal gov is invested $380 million in HAVA. That’s not enough. But even imperfect resources used now is better than squirreling money away for the unforeseen future.
Question: What systems are at greatest risk?
The Internet facing systems are at greatest risk.
Question: What do you think about 2020?
I’d expect attacks and more sophisticated than last time.
Question: what is the risk of not using HAVA funds?
Makes sense to invest against the threat.
Question: What would be the cost of going to a hand count be? If something happened?
Very costly in money, time and hassle.
Question: How does state support local and local support state?
In IL there is info sharing but in Minnesota the info is top down only. That makes MN a bigger target.
Question: Same day registration seems better than provisional.
It was better as an administrator because you could deal with the issue on site.
Question: Some people say we’re being hacking all of the time. It’s no big deal. What do you think?
I think the 2016 attacks are a big deal.
Question: What do we do at the state level to protect our data? We are one of 50 that has not distributed HAVA funds. Doesn’t that make us a biggest target?
Yes. It’s a crime of opportunity.
Question: How did criminals get into IL?
Access was to a secondary system that mirrors the statewide voter registration data.
Question: Who has access to voter flags (reason to worry) and who puts that info into the system?
Voter status is only changed at County level. Only county level folks can make changes.
Question: What do you do with felons?
Felons can vote in IL, when they are no longer in custody. But there are other flags.
Question: Do you purge records? IN MN we do if they don’t vote in 2 presidential elections?
We have a process but it’s complex.
Public Comments on Accessibility
We need to find a way to get Senate and House into the same room to discuss this.
We put this notice out 2 weeks ago and asked folks to let us know if it doesn’t work. The Senate has not called a meeting.