A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Board of Elections votes to further strengthen voter security, to provide verifiable paper trail

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

The State Board of Elections on Tuesday voted to require all future election equipment purchased in Kentucky to provide a voter-verified paper trail.
Most Kentucky counties already allow voters to cast votes with a paper trail. Many also utilize paperless direct-recording electronic voting machines that provide accessible features to allow voters with disabilities to cast ballots independently and privately.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (Photo by Tom Latek)

In recent months, though, members of the Department of Homeland Security, cybersecurity experts, and researchers have called into question the ability of DRE voting machines to provide an adequate method for auditing vote counts as well as the machines’ cybersecurity integrity.

The Board also called on the Kentucky General Assembly and Congress to provide funding to upgrade Kentucky’s voting machines starting with allocating the remaining funds due to the Commonwealth under the Help America Vote Act.

”The Board of Elections takes the integrity of our Kentucky elections very seriously, and we want Kentucky voters to be assured that their votes count and the results are accurate,” said Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, chair of the Board, and who recommended the action. “In a time when bad actors and misinformation campaigns try to undermine confidence in our democratic process, making sure voters can verify their vote is critical to building up and protecting our process.”

The Board on Tuesday also unanimously approved a resolution highlighting its pledge to strengthen the security of Kentucky’s election processes by reaffirming its partnership with CyberScout, an industry-leading cybersecurity firm.

Since last year, CyberScout has spent countless hours conducting meetings with the State Board of Elections, its staff and county clerks, as well as inspecting election equipment and monitoring elections to assess and audit Kentucky’s procedures and processes.

”The security of Kentucky’s elections is the top priority for the Board of Elections,” said Grimes. “Our members expressed unequivocally today that CyberScout is a vital partner in the work we do to ensure our elections are carried out in a secure and effective manner.”

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