Minnesota Will Still Use Some Voting Machines Over a Decade Old in November

March 16, 2018 07:08 AM

Counties in Minnesota will still use voting machines manufactured during the George W. Bush Administration during the upcoming midterm election.

At least 20 counties expect to use machines that are more than a decade old, according to data collected by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.

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New York University's Brennan Law Center said the outdated machines pose "serious safety risks."

RELATED: Secretary of State: Russians Targeted Minnesota Elections

The law center has been studying voting vulnerabilities since 2015.

Minnesota is one of only three states to allocate money to update their voting equipment during that time, according to the center's analysis.

The state was one of 21 that had its election system targeted by Russian hackers in 2016

RELATED: State Election Officials Worry about 2018 Election Security

Last year, state lawmakers authorized $7 million in grants to help counties accelerate the process.

All but two counties applied for the grant money and agreed to provide matching funds. But it's clear some polling places across the state will still be using old machines in November.



Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said it will take between $7 and $14 million more to update all of the state's voting machines.

Simon compared the outdated machines to using a flip phone in the age of smart phones.

"In 2018, that just doesn't cut it anymore," Simon said Thursday. "You don't want stuff that is 10 years or older."

KSTP's Vote 2018 Page

However, Simon said the state's "pen and paper" model that entails actually filling out the ballot provides Minnesota additional protection.

He is most concerned about the Statewide Voter Registration System.

Registration systems were hacked in Illinois and Arizona in 2016.

"That is one potential vulnerability that we've been talking about very loudly and very consistently," Simon said.

A legislative audit regarding the system's processes and accuracy will be released Friday morning.

As for securing the system, Simon said it will take state and federal funding to fully modernize the state's database over the next couple of years.

Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar is sponsoring legislation that would provide more funding to states to tackle cybersecurity concerns.

 

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Joe Augustine

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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