Officials Say Election Safe From Hackers

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana says it’s confident the state’s elections are safe from hackers. But it’s adding more precautions to make them safer:

The Mueller report declared Russia tried to hack voting systems in all 50 states. Secretary of State Connie Lawson says that claim puzzled her. She says no one’s advised her of a hacking attempt here, and says voting machines aren’t even connected to the Internet.

The voter registration database is Internet-enabled, and Lawson says she’s beefed up security. The state reviewed more than 15-million logins from 2016 to make sure I-P addresses linked to hacking attempts in Illinois and Arizona didn’t try to get into Indiana’s voter lists. Lawson says the state checks regularly for signs of intrusion attempts, and is piloting intrusion prevention software in seven counties.

The state office of technology has been training state workers to spot and avoid phishing emails, which trick users into clicking a link which gives hackers a back door into the computer network. Lawson says her office’s employees have improved. though one in 50 staffers still fell for the most recent phishing test.

In this year’s local elections, Hamilton, Hendricks, Boone and Bartholomew Counties will test-drive an add-on to their touch-screen voting machines which lets you see a paper printout of your vote before you make it final. The state will also experiment with risk-limiting audits, in which it checks a statistical sample of ballots to confirm they’re in line with the totals. Lawson says she hopes to make the audits standard practice statewide in 2022. And Lawson plans a tabletop exercise in Election Day crisis management at county clerks’ annual conference in December.

Lawson says she’s confident the state wasn’t hacked in 2016 and is protected for 2019 and 2020. She says a bigger concern is a more low-tech one: poll workers who don’t show up on Election Day.