Last week, Gov. Jay Inslee visited King County Elections Center in Renton to assure Washington voters that their ballots in the upcoming election will be secure. After being one of 21 states targeted by Russian hackers in the 2016 election, Washington has prioritized voting security as a front-and-center issue.
“Washington is widely considered to have one of the more secure elections systems in the nation, in part because our mail-in balloting means the state has a paper record for every vote,” said Inslee in a statement. “Those ballots can always be recounted, if any question emerges. I am pleased that Sec. Wyman is partnering, in a first of its kind relationship, with the Washington National Guard’s cyber-security team to ensure that every vote cast counts in the 2018 elections and beyond.”
Secretary of State Kim Wyman added that the machines that count ballots in each of Washington’s 39 counties are not connected to the internet, making them more secure. Wyman’s office has also worked with the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that voting systems are as secure as possible. Additionally, the Washington National Guard has highly trained individuals looking at the system before Nov. 6.
“I want to assure every single Washingtonian that our elections are secure, and we are ready for the 2018 election,” said Wyman. “If there’s one thing I want people to remember, it’s that our tabulation systems — that is, the machines that count the ballots in each county — are in no way connected to the internet. Since 2016, cybersecurity in elections has been front-and-center. I can assure you that we’re working very closely with all 39 counties to prevent any kind of intrusion and ensure our elections are secure.”
Washington was one of 21 states targeted by Russian hackers in the 2016 elections. Evidence indicates those attempts were unsuccessful and no election results were compromised.
The state has undertaken a variety of measures to ensure election security, including the Secretary of State’s office efforts to work with the Department of Homeland Security to keep voting systems secure, as well as the Washington National Guard’s anti-hacking efforts.
The state National Guard brings an added layer of expertise to the system before November’s general election. Some of the highly trained individuals working on anti-hacking efforts work at Microsoft, Amazon, or security companies as their day jobs.
Visit the Washington Secretary of State’s Elections System Security page to learn more.