Protecting N.Y. state elections from vulnerability

Local News

One of the biggest staples to our democracy is voting, and we found out in 2016, that our election system might not be as safe as we had previously thought.

After the 2016 election year highlighted some potential weaknesses in the election system, Congress allocated close to $20 million to New York this year to help secure our state elections.

“We start from a pretty good place with our elections in New York State,” John Conklin, of the New York State Board of Elections, said.

Even with this good start, Conklin explains how the state plans to use this federal money and the money received from the state budget to protect voters. 

Part of the money will go towards assessing risks in every county and continue exercises that will prepare county boards for potential hackers. 

“No system is 100 percent invulnerable but we have the redundancies in place and the backups so that if anything were to happen with the machines or the voter registration database, we could restore our system back to a place before any breach or compromise.”

Conklin says New York is already prepared in part because if someone was to hack a voting machine, the physical ballot itself is stored as a backup. 

“The machines themselves, I believe, are one of the least vulnerable parts of our election system. They’re tested before and after every election.”

Specific weaknesses found could not be shared due to security reasons, but nothing should change for voters looking to vote in the primary on September 13th. 

“I think generally we are secure and I think the voters should have confidence in our election system.”

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