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Missouri, Kansas receive millions to improve election security

Posted: 4:35 PM, Aug 22, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-22 23:16:44Z

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The ballot box will be important in November, but right now state leaders are focused on the IT systems that protect election databases.

“I am concerned about the entire election process,” said De Barker.

You don’t have to go far to find someone who is concerned with the midterm election. The concern isn’t just with who could be elected, but who is trying to influence the election.

“The security of it, safety, the process, the human hands that are attached to it, the IT system, all of those,” said Barker.

Congress allotted nearly $400 million to help states improve cybersecurity when it comes to elections. 

 

Missouri has a heated U.S. Senate race that’s generated national attention. The state received $7 million in federal grant money. 

A lot of eyes are also on the Kansas Third Congressional District race. Kansas was awarded $4.4 million.

“I will tell you that our office receives multiple attempts like that in a day,” said Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft in reference to attempted hacks on the state system. 

Ashcroft said the money will be used to improve the IT system, hire support staff and create a new voter registration database.

“We are looking at cybersecurity experts to go to the local election authorities, the local clerks, to do audits, not just of their equipment but their policy and procedures,” he said. 

In Kansas, a letter from Secretary of State Kris Kobach said a budget outline would be sent to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission by July 16. That did not happen, so the funds have not been sent to the state. Kobach’s office said they have been given an extension.

Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill confirmed in July Russians unsuccessfully attempted to hack her senate computer network.

There are some like Stewart Miller who aren’t concerned about a possible hack.

“It’s something to follow up on and make sure things are secure. While there have been concerns in the past, from what I’ve seen there haven't been major breaches but it’s something we need to keep aware of,” said Miller.