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Friday, February 16, 2018

RI prepares for 2018 Russian attack on our election system

By Bob Plain in Rhode Island’s Future

Related imageThe bad news is Russia is probably going to try to disrupt the 2018 election as it did during the 2016 cycle. 

That’s according to US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, who told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday: 
“There should be no doubt that Russia perceives that its past efforts have been successful and views the 2018 midterm US elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations.”
The good news is Rhode Island seems as prepared for another election attack as any other state in the nation. That’s according to the Center for American Progress, which released a report earlier this week called “Election Security in All 50 States.” 

Rhode Island was one of only 10 states to receive a B grade, “the highest grade given to any state,” noted a news release from Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea’s office, which touted the finding.

“In many ways, Rhode Island is leading the states in election security, receiving ‘good’ scores for the three most important categories due to its statewide use of paper ballots, its adherence to minimum cybersecurity best practices, and its new risk-limiting audit law,” said the report’s section on Rhode Island.

The report was not without its criticisms of the Ocean State’s electoral readiness for another Russian cyber-invasion.

“Still, the state’s ballot accounting and reconciliation requirements need improvement, and Rhode Island’s allowance of voted absentee ballots being returned electronically leaves its elections vulnerable,” it said. 

“To improve its overall election security, Rhode Island should strengthen its ballot accounting and reconciliation procedures by requiring poll workers to reconcile any discrepancies between the number of ballots cast and number of voters who signed in at the polling place and by requiring counties to compare and reconcile precinct totals with countywide composite results to ensure that they add up to the correct number.”

The report looked at: Minimum cybersecurity standards for voter registration systems; voter-verified paper ballots; post-election audits that test election results; ballot accounting and reconciliation; return of voted paper absentee ballots; voting machine certification requirements; pre-election logic and accuracy testing.

The other states that received a B grade are: Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, and Washington D.C. 

Five states received failing grades, and another 10 were given a D rating. Massachusetts scored a C.

No states received an A.

Bob Plain is the editor/publisher of Rhode Island's Future. Previously, he's worked as a reporter for several different news organizations both in Rhode Island and across the country.