Protecting democracy and ensuring data security are priorities for CT | #government | #hacking | #cyberattack

Elections are about choices. On Tuesday, Aug. 9, Connecticut Democrats face a very important choice: to decide which candidate shall head into the November general election to serve as Connecticut’s secretary of the state for the next four years.

Although often overlooked in past statewide elections compared with higher-profile contests, after Jan. 6, 2021, there can be no doubt about the critical nature of the office of the secretary of the state.

The individual elected is charged with the responsibility of safeguarding our democracy and the freedom and openness of our society that flows from the ability to elect the government that we choose.

Make no mistake — our democratic system of one person, one vote is under attack as never before. Foreign enemies, such as Russia and Iran, are making unprecedented efforts to probe and hack into state voter registration systems like Connecticut’s.

There are also political actors — even here in Connecticut — who peddle false conspiracies about past election results and nonexistent voter fraud in order to undermine public confidence in our election systems and restrict who can vote. In some states, Republican-led legislatures have even enacted laws giving themselves or individual secretaries of state the authority to reject election outcomes they don’t like. Those pushing the big election lie in this country are actually trying to rig the system to steal elections.

The attempt to suppress the votes of the young, the elderly, the poor, and Black and brown voters is, unfortunately, nothing new. As a young girl growing up in the Fair Haven neighborhood of New Haven, I learned firsthand about the impact of systemic racial discrimination. It’s what drove me to work in public health and public service.

There are tangible steps we can take to protect our democracy.

We need to invest in new technology to upgrade our voter registration database to make sure it is impenetrable to all forms of hacking and manipulation. Additionally, the state is currently using 20-year-old optical scan technology to count votes. Our machines are rapidly becoming obsolete and we need to replace them for the 800-plus polling places throughout our state.

Since elections are largely funded at the local level, we cannot simply require that cities and towns upgrade election technology and then just leave it to them to figure out how to pay for it. As secretary of the state of Connecticut, I will pursue ways for the state and federal governments to financially support cities and towns to upgrade their election equipment to make sure it is secure and follows all federal and state guidelines.

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