SoCal Counties Take Bold Steps to Secure Voting Systems
Counties across Southern California are pulling out all the stops to ensure the integrity of their voting systems ahead of what promises to be a riveting midterm election season.
With 2016 Russian meddling efforts still fresh in the national consciousness, the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino have enacted new protocols, training, and encryption methods to reduce the vulnerabilities of the Southland’s election infrastructure. These include mock phishing exercises to test county employees; increased monitoring and security audits; boosting system encryption; inspections by federal officials; and efforts that some counties refuse to even disclose.
"I think we're in a much better place in 2016 because we really have our antennas up," said UC Irvine law professor and electronic voting expert Jack Lerner.
The most stringent efforts appear to be taking place in Orange County, where four races could prove pivotal to Democrats’ efforts to take control of the House of Representatives. But Los Angeles County has taken some pretty bold steps too. As County News reported last summer, Registrar of Voters Dean Logan even sent employees to DEF CON in Las Vegas to watch hackers break into their voting machines.
California has had its share of election breach scares. Nonetheless, Secretary of State Alex Padilla's office insists there is no evidence that voter rolls were compromised in 2016.
With Russian efforts to influence the midterms already underway, Southern California isn’t taking any chances.