HARTFORD – Secretary of the State Denise Merrill today briefed Senator Chris Murphy and Senator Richard Blumenthal on Connecticut’s plan to bolster our election cybersecurity infrastructure, the recommendations of Connecticut’s Election Cybersecurity Task Force, and state and local elections officials’ view of recent federal proposals on election cybersecurity.
“Every potential voter should know that we are taking steps to ensure that our election infrastructure cannot be affected by foreign actors. In Connecticut, every vote cast will be a vote counted,” said Merrill. “Although the threat of foreign interference in our elections is very real, Connecticut’s cyberdefenses have already repelled a targeting by the Russian government in 2016, and our election cybersecurity infrastructure is strong and getting stronger. With the help of Connecticut’s excellent federal delegation, the federal funding secured will allow us to bolster our election cybersecurity efforts, strengthen our defenses on the state and local level, develop and implement best practices, and improve training and interagency communications.”
“Significantly strengthened cybersecurity is critical to the safety and security of our election system— a fundamental bedrock of our democracy,” said Blumenthal. “Russia and other hostile foreign countries have sought to undermine our democracy, and now more than ever, stronger state and federal partnerships are needed to fight against cyber attacks on our elections. I will continue to hold bad actors, tech companies and the Trump administration accountable, and work alongside Secretary Merrill to make sure that Connecticut has the resources to protect our elections.”
“Voting is one of the most important things you can do as an American, and securing our elections from foreign interference should be non-negotiable,” said Murphy. “We saw firsthand as a country what happens when foreign actors illegally interfere in our elections. Connecticut is taking the necessary steps to assure voters in our state that their vote has been counted, and I will continue to work with Secretary Merrill and do all I can at the federal level to make sure Connecticut continues to have a strong election cybersecurity infrastructure in place.”
Secretary Merrill, working with the Election Cybersecurity Task Force, has formulated a plan to use the more than $5 million dollars in election cybersecurity funding received from the Election Assistance Commission to strengthen Connecticut’s election cybersecurity infrastructure. The plan focuses on procuring additional voting equipment and local hardware security upgrades, assessing and addressing potential cyber vulnerabilities, enhancing post-election audits, improving voter registration systems and management, increasing and enhancing training for local election officials, supporting the University of Connecticut Center for Voting Technology Research, funding the Regional Election Monitors, and hiring a fulltime election cybersecurity consultant. Copies of the Connecticut State Narrative and Funds Request submitted to the EAC are attached.
The Election Cybersecurity Task Force includes representatives from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Connecticut National Guard, Connecticut state government, as well as legislative leadership, and the statewide organizations for Town Clerks, the Registrars of Voters, and municipalities.