Michigan budget allots $11.2 million for election security

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson today issued the following statement about the state budget signed today that includes $535,000 in state money that Johnson and her team sought to enhance election security and integrity:

“I thank the governor and lawmakers for moving quickly to include the state’s contribution in the new budget, allowing Michigan to use $11.2 million to review and upgrade state and local election security. We all take elections seriously and are working to further strengthen election security and integrity.

“We will be hiring an outside firm to conduct a security review of state, county and local election-related systems to identify potential vulnerabilities and methods to mitigate them. The work will be the first time such an extensive security-related review will be performed but that is just the start of our plans to use the new money for election upgrades.

These measures are part of Johnson’s continuing efforts to enhance election security and integrity. Earlier efforts include cleaning up the state voter file, performing post-election audits for the first time and more cybersecurity training for local election workers.

The security review is among the many election upgrades Johnson and the Bureau of Elections have put in place for the 2018 election cycle, including all new next-generation election equipment used in all 1,520 cities and townships, expanded cybersecurity training for local election administrators and post-election audits that include ballot validation.

The $10.7 million federal portion of the new money was sent to the state this morning. Already, the Bureau of Elections is seeking to hire an experienced firm with election administration and cybersecurity expertise to perform the security review with at least initial findings expected to be reported before the November general election.