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Connecticut to beef up cybersecurity in advance of general election

September 7, 2018

In advance of the Nov. 6 election, Connecticut plans to provide cybersecurity training to all local election officials and hire IT professionals to assess vulnerabilities within voter registration lists maintained at the local level, using money from a 380 million in election technology funding for states across the country to increase election security. Connecticut received its funding about two weeks ago, after its plan for how it intends to use the funds was approved, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said. She convened a taskforce earlier in the year to come up with ideas for how to use the money, much of which won’t be spent until well after Election Day.

The state has until September 2023 to use the money. It must match 5 percent of the federal money, or 90,000 already has been spent for hardware maintenance of Connecticut’s voting system. Another 1 million to buy additional voting equipment, given that the current equipment is dated.

“We’re happy with the current system we have, at least for the moment, because it has paper ballots. It’s not connected to the Internet,” Merill said. “We’re continuing to use them but we’re getting concerned about age, so we’re planning to buy a group of replacement tabulators that we can bring in as needed.”

The state also plans to hire a full-time cybersecurity consultant to work for four years to evaluate its election security and develop an incident response plan, and is allocating $600,000 over the four years for that work.

j.bergman@theday.com

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