LANDER (WNE) –- The Wyoming Legislature will look at a measure to create a trust fund to maintain its voting systems going forward.
The 2016 election saw an unprecedented number of attempts to interfere with states’ voting systems, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Wyoming was not among the 21 states that reported attempted hacking, but election security experts warned regional lawmakers recently that the Cowboy State could be a target for nefarious actors looking to undermine confidence in the American democratic process.
Outdated voting equipment in Wyoming was replaced after funding was allocated by the federal government via the 2002 Help America Vote Act. But more than a decade later, many election custodians say that voting equipment has reached the end of its useful life, said Kai Schon, state elections director for the Wyoming Secretary of State.
With expectations that more interference is coming in the 2018 election, Schon said he’s confident Wyoming’s election systems are up to the task of ensuring a safe and secure process. With a burden on elected officials to make sure voting systems in Wyoming counties have what they need to ensure that going forward, Schon said lawmakers should look at a way to ensure funding will be available.
“We know we have safe, secure, accurate elections, but we also know we need to take into account things from physical security to cybersecurity, things of that nature, that tie into election systems,” he said.
The Wyoming Legislature’s 2018 budget bill included more than $13 million for a two-year period on top of $3 million from the federal government received in March for voting systems.
But Schon said it is prudent to establish a fund that would hopefully make money available for such tasks if state or federal money isn’t available.