Kentucky Secretary of State responds to poor election security grade

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - A recent report gives the Bluegrass state a 'D' for election security. A low-tech fix could better protect your vote.

Experts say Hackers will try to meddle in American elections this year, what's less clear, is whether they'll succeed. "There are vulnerabilities in all 50 states," said Danielle Root, the voting rights manager with the left-leaning Center for American Progress.

Danielle Root recently graded election security in all 50 states. She and her co-authors gave out no 'A's, 11 'B's, 23 'C's, 12 'D's, and five 'F's. Asked if that distribution suggested they should have used a curve, Root defended the grading. "The threat environment is too immediate and important to be giving out perfect scores willy-nilly," she said.

State scores are largely-based on whether states us digital rather than paper ballots in some districts.
Electronic voting can speed up the counting process, reduce staff costs, and make voting easier for disabled Americans. But, the reports' authors see a vulnerability.

Root said without paper ballots - there's no paper trail, making it impossible to verify a result. Therefore, a state couldn't expect to pass the test if any of its voters use electronic voting machines rather than paper.

Asked about her state's 'D' grade, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D-Kentucky) said the report does highlight flaws in the state system. But, she added voters in her state should feel secure with their elections. "They can have confidence in this process," she said.

Grimes said Kentucky districts with e-voting would likely choose to switch back to paper, and update old machines but that costs money. "There's more that we can do and it requires funding from our federal and state government," said Grimes.

The report card did praise cyber-security efforts in the Bluegrass state - but Grimes said states must build in every and any protection they can. "We are under siege daily," she said when asked how often the election system comes under attack.

The next big election in Kentucky is only a few months away.
2018 party primaries will be held May 22nd.

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