Madison (WKOW) – U.S. Intelligence officials have been warned that the 2018 midterm elections are a target for Russian cyberattacks, but Wisconsin election officials are remaining confident next week’s primary will go smoothly without interruptions.
There are more than 3,000 ballot machines that will be tested to make sure elections are safe and secure.
"People who are afraid or say my vote doesn’t matter or somethings going to happen to it, well that’s not true,” said Dane County Clerk Scott McDonnell. “We assume every step of the way that something bad could happen and we check for that and make sure your vote is counted correctly."
Election experts found that Wisconsin’s voting systems are able to be hacked. That’s a possibility the Wisconsin Election Commission said could happen anywhere. They’re already planning ahead by putting up layers of security and encrypting voters information through a database.
"I think people should be comfortable that they’re votes are secure,” said Reid Magney, Public Information Officer for the Election Commission. “There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes that people don’t see."
Current law requires election officials to conduct audits after each general election that check how the voting equipment worked. It shows which machines function properly and which ones didn’t. Other states, like Colorado, go one step further and their audits can check the accuracy of election outcomes, something the commission may look into during its September meeting.
More cyber security professionals, IT and programmers will be hired before the November election to help the commission continue to keep elections safe. They’re able to hire more staff through a $7 million grant from the federal government.
"It’s all to make sure we can do a better job of safety and security measures we’re putting in place," said Magney.
Magney said the state also has paper ballots which are a safe backup if anything goes wrong, like a power outage or a recount election. With Wisconsin being a key swing state, hackers will make attempts but elections officials are preparing for hours to make sure your vote counts.