MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The security of Minnesota’s election system is in question.
Wednesday morning, Secretary of State Steve Simon testified in Washington D.C. before a U.S. Senate Committee about Minnesota being targeted by the Russian government, leading up to the 2016 election.
Last September, Minnesota’s Secretary of State released a statement after he received a phone call from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Officials there told him that Minnesota was one of 21 states targeted by people acting on behalf of the Russian government just before the 2016 presidential election.
Homeland Security officials determined those people scanned IP addresses associated with the Secretary of State’s website, looking for vulnerabilities, but didn’t attempt any further actions. There was no breach, however.
“We know we have to be vigilant as we were in 2016 but now we have a lot more information. The good news here, the reason the glass is half full is that Minnesota and other states are in far better position going into this election than we were going into last election,” Simon said.
The U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, which Simon is testifying before, includes Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who noted “Hack me once, shame on them. Hack us twice, shame on us.”
The security of the upcoming 2018 elections is the focus of a group of secretaries of state and cyber-security experts.
Klobuchar and Simon both believe there will be more attempts to hack into election systems this fall. In Minnesota, state officials have devoted time and new resources to upgrading security, and that includes modernizing the voter registration system.