Minnesota lawmakers to discuss election security

April 23, 2019 06:19 AM

Tuesday at the state capitol, lawmakers will discuss election security and why millions of dollars set aside for improvements aren't being used.

Secretary of State Steve Simon says the holdup is leaving Minnesotans exposed to possible cyber-attacks.


Minnesota was one of the states targeted by Russian hackers in the 2016 election. Following the election, the federal government set aside money to boost election security.

However, the state legislature must still approve the use of that money.

"Minnesota is now the only state in America not to get authorization to use these funds," Simon said. "That's because the legislature is unable to come to an agreement."

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A bill that would allow Simon in his role as secretary of state to spend the money was vetoed last session.

The $6.6 million federal grant would boost cyber security, such as updating the state's voter registration system.

Simon said the fact that Minnesota has yet to take action on approving the money is a "very big deal" and that it's going to be harder for the state to safeguard its election system.

Simon told KSTP the intelligence community in Washington, D.C., knows that upcoming elections could be at risk.

"We've been told that we are likely to be targeted as a country again not only by the one foreign government but by others, so we know we have to be prepared for this and we need that money to be prepared."

There is a deadline on the money: Minnesota only has five years to use it and the state is already a year in.

A House committee is expected to take up the issue Tuesday.

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Alex Jokich & Rebecca Omastiak

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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