Info@NationalCyberSecurity
Info@NationalCyberSecurity

Cybersecurity option ruled out for Shoshone County HAVA funds | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware



WALLACE — Shoshone County was one of many counties receiving grants through the Help America Vote Act to update elections equipment, but after a public hearing last month, county officials moved to investigate other options than the original plan to purchase four additional ExpressVote machines.

The Idaho Secretary of State’s office received $1 million in 2023 from the Election Assistance Commission for 2023 HAVA funds to distribute to the counties for updated equipment. 

At the end of 2023, county officials received a notice that Shoshone County was awarded $15,752 and has until December 2026 to spend the funds, with a subgrant match of $788 from the county before reimbursement.

These election machines are used to provide disability accommodations for voters with visual impairments or dexterity needs for individuals who have trouble holding a pen.

One of the questions raised at the Feb. 13 public hearing was the frequency and funding for voting assistance machine upkeep.

Shoshone deputy clerk Timmie Hunter said maintenance costs regarding the current ExpressVote machines in use across the precincts is paid out of the elections budget and takes place every two years.

ExpressVote machines use paper ballots, which are fed into the machine and print the voter’s selection for them to review before being submitted and tallied by election staff. 

“We are working on getting as much information as we can for all options so that the county can make the very best use of the HAVA funds,” Hunter said.

An option also floated as a possibility for the funding was cybersecurity protections for the elections process, but after consulting both with state officials and IT professionals, Shoshone County elections clerk Savanna Willer said cybersecurity has been ruled out.

“We currently have in place a security system and from my understanding, since none of the election equipment is connected to the internet, there is no additional cybersecurity that could be utilized specifically for elections,” Willer said.

Although she had been unable to attend the public hearing in person, Commissioner Tracy Casady has listened to audio from the meeting and stated she remains positive about what the county can do with the HAVA grant to benefit the Silver Valley elections process and was encouraged by the public interest on the topic. 

“Many people have no idea of how much work is put into the elections. I have faith that in our county, we have very competent employees and volunteers that work very hard at keeping a secure election,” Casady said.

She was further encouraged by the surprise Idaho Secretary of State elections audit of Shoshone County in 2022, 

“I am very proud that our county’s election team passed the audit with 100% accuracy. Not 80%, 75% or 99% but 100,” Casady said.

She had worked previously with the clerk prior to becoming a county commissioner and said it gave her a deeper appreciation and understanding for the hard work that goes into an election and of the poll workers who put in their time as well. 

“I am positive our county has a team that is very diligent at accuracy and security. I welcome anyone who has questions to come in to have their concerns addressed,” Casady said.

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