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Statement on Election Cybersecurity Funding

Election officials statewide are hard at work preparing for the upcoming elections this fall. But supporting that work will take additional help from our Legislature today. The League of Women Voters encourages the Legislature to take those steps.

This morning, the Senate Intelligence Committee determined that federal intelligence agencies were correct in assessing that Russia interfered in the 2016 elections. Chairman Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) stated, “There is no doubt that Russia undertook an unprecedented effort to interfere with our 2016 elections.” This follows just one week after the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on election security that found that cyber infiltrators could have altered or deleted voter registration data.

Also this morning, Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon issued a statement asking that the Legislature release $1.5 million in federal funding for Minnesota’s election cybersecurity. But the Legislature and Governor has not yet agreed to accept and allocate those funds. Secretary Simon said, “We need these funds. The Russians attempted to hack our elections in 2016. We know they will be back in 2018. These federal dollars – not one penny of which adds to the tax burden borne by Minnesotans – are our best chance to further protect Minnesota’s best-in-the-nation elections systems.” Simon is worried that Governor Dayton will veto the funding bill that includes the election security funding because the bill includes other provisions that Dayton opposes.

“With foreign countries a known threat to our democracy, the League of Women Voters Minnesota calls on the legislature to eliminate obstacles to the immediate release of federal funds,” said Terry Kalil, president of LWV Minnesota. “Minnesota is known for having one of the safest, most secure election systems. Minnesota voters expect no less than continued excellence in our election integrity.”