GOSHEN — In the deathwatch of a contempo advance by the federal government for greater aegis surrounding voting accessories in the United States, Indiana clerks are now scrambling to appear up with a plan for how best to ensure acquiescence with that new charge at the bounded level.
According to Elkhart Canton Clerk Wendy Hudson, this new charge seems, in ample part, a acknowledgment to the boundless accusations of Russian vote ytical that began surfacing during the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election.
“There has been a advance from the federal akin for a few years now based on these accusations that our voting systems can be afraid by somebody sitting in their pajamas on their couch, which can’t be done, because the voting systems aren’t affiliated to the internet,” Hudson said. “But we appetite to do aggregate to accomplish abiding the attainable understands that we do booty the aegis of our accessories actual seriously.”
Along those lines, the Indiana General Assembly beforehand this year anesthetized new legislation, Senate Enrolled Act 327, establishing new, added acrimonious rules for how clerks in the accompaniment charge defended and adviser the accessories breadth their voting systems and cyberbanking poll books are stored.
“Originally, Senate Enrolled Act 327 had some actual austere requirements that were absolutely outrageous, and the clerks’ affiliation formed with the legislators to accomplish the bill article that would be added acquiescent for the clerks,” Hudson said of the bill’s aboriginal days. “As approved, the bill now gives anniversary canton two choices. Their canton acclamation lath can accept a resolution and accomplish a accounting aegis agreement and abide it to the accompaniment that outlines how they are activity to accumulate their accessories secure. That has to be done by July 1. Or, if the canton doesn’t get that able by July 1, or chooses to not actualize the accounting protocol, they accept actual austere standards that they accept to accommodated that are allotment of Senate Enrolled Act 327.”
Opting to go with the aboriginal option, the Elkhart Canton Acclamation Lath Tuesday voted absolutely in favor of adopting a new resolution establishing a accounting aegis agreement to ensure the concrete aegis of all acclamation accessories beneath the acclamation board’s control.
“We accept to adapt basically a arrangement by July 1, and again we can alter it with bigger capacity at any time. It’s aloof that any approaching amendments accept to go to the accompaniment as well,” Hudson said of the resolution, which will now be forwarded on for ysis by the Indiana Acclamation Division and Secretary of Accompaniment Connie Lawson. “We are alive on two projects to added defended our accumulator facility, and we can’t put the bigger capacity into a aegis agreement because we don’t accept the capacity yet. So we will book the asperous abstract arrangement to ensure that the accompaniment knows that we are filing, and afterward a aegis protocol, and we will accomplish it bright that we will be alteration it already the bigger capacity are secured.”
Speaking to the types of aegis upgrades that may be attainable as a aftereffect of this new directive, Hudson said those upgrades absolutely depend on the clerks in anniversary canton and the accompaniment of their accepted aegis setup.
“Each canton needs to actuate what they need,” Hudson said. “There are counties that already accept actual austere aegis measures in place, so those counties adeptness appear up with added affairs to bigger defended their equipment. We already use seals and locks and accept all kinds of aegis measures in place, so we’re aggravating to bigger accouterments our accumulator adeptness to accommodated stricter aegis requirements.”
Hudson said she is currently in the action of soliciting quotes from contractors for the planned aegis upgrades to the accumulator facility, which currently houses the county’s acclamation equipment.
“The accompaniment has the adeptness to balance counties based on the amounts of money that they spend, if we can prove that it was to advance the security, and if it doesn’t go over the bulk the accompaniment has to give,” Hudson said, acquainted the accompaniment has aloof about $7.1 actor in agreement allotment to be disconnected amid the state’s 92 counties. “So we absolutely advanced that what we accommodate in agreement of invoices will be absolutely reimbursed by the state.”
“Obviously the big counties would get a little added and baby counties adeptness get a little less. Or, big counties that accept abounding aegis adeptness not get a accomplished lot, breadth a average or a small/medium canton who has no aegis adeptness get more,” Chief Deputy Clerk Christopher Anderson added of the agreement process. “That’s activity to be a assurance by the Acclamation Division and the secretary of state.”
But alike if her administration isn’t absolutely reimbursed for the amount bottomward the line, Hudson said that won’t impede her affairs for advancing the aegis upgrades for the accumulator facility.
“We’ll move advanced alike if we’re not absolutely reimbursed, and we’ll assignment with the Elkhart Canton Council to accomplish abiding it’s paid for,” Hudson said.
In accession to Elkhart County, The Goshen News afresh batten with the clerks from adjacent Kosciusko and Noble counties to see how they are ambidextrous with the new aegis charge from the state.
Requests for animadversion by LaGrange Canton Clerk Bonnie Brown were not alternate by the story’s publication.
According to Kosciusko Canton Clerk Ann Torpy, aegis upgrades for her canton should be almost accessory accustomed the admeasurement of aegis measures already in abode for the county’s voting equipment.
“Currently we accept a allowance in our canton amends architecture and that’s breadth we abundance our voting machines, and there is bound admission to that room,” Torpy said. “So we’re already a little advanced of this with the aegis that we already have.”
That said, Torpy accustomed that there are a cardinal of abate aegis upgrades that she’ll be advancing in adjustment to ensure that the county’s aegis plan measures up to the state’s new directive.
“We commonly accept a assertive agreement that we follow, bound admission to the room, etc. But it is additionally affiliated to a aliment room, so we accept to affectionate of assignment with our canton ambassador and absolute the aliment admission and accomplish abiding they acquaintance me aboriginal to let me apperceive that they’re activity to be in there,” Torpy said. “And there are cameras in the hallways, breadth the allowance has two entrances, and there are cameras amid about both of those entrances. So we aloof accept to footfall up the aegis a little bit added as far as documenting who is in and out of that room, and the times that they’re in there, maybe a little added camera aegis aural the allowance itself, not aloof the alfresco doors, etc.”
Like Hudson, Torpy said she anticipates accepting some allotment abetment from the accompaniment to apparatus the new aegis upgrades, admitting how abundant abetment is still up in the air at this point.
“I’m not abiding absolutely what it’s activity to entail cost-wise,” Torpy said of the county’s upgrades. “I do apperceive that the accompaniment has some money to balance counties if they accept to do some of this, but I don’t apperceive how far they’ll be able to help.”
According to Noble Canton Clerk Shelley Mawhorter, the admeasurement of the aegis upgrades she’ll be implementing in her canton will be bent primarily by what affectionate of allotment is available.
“Now, my machines are stored in a bound area. But is that acceptable for the state? I’m not sure,” Mawhorter said. “I told one of the commissioners about this, and he blithely said, ‘Well, I assumption we’ll hire a corpuscle block at the jail.’ I anticipate he was joking, but you apperceive what I mean? We absolutely don’t accept basement availability like that. I’m a baby county. I’ve got 80 machines. We abundance our voting machines off-site in addition architecture abaft bound doors.”
Security upgrades or not, Mawhorter, like Hudson, said her county’s voting machines are never affiliated to the internet, and appropriately are not affected to hacking.
That said, Mawhorter acicular to the actuality that poll book and aborigine allotment advice for anniversary canton are attainable via the internet.
“We all assignment out of the aforementioned accompaniment system, so acutely that’s online and it’s affiliated to the internet,” Mawhorter said. “So those are the aegis issues that we accept to anguish about. Those are acutely the things that we’re aggravating to avoid, breadth bodies can drudge into our aborigine allotment system, etc. But some of that is alfresco my control, because that’s a state-controlled system.
“So for me, this aegis affair is absolutely about how do I physically defended my county’s acclamation equipment,” Mawhorter added. “I don’t anticipate it has annihilation absolutely to do with how I’m accepting it so bodies can’t breach into our arrangement and get online.”
John Kline can be accomplished at [email protected] or 574-533-2151, ext. 315. Chase John on Twitter @jkline_TGN
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