AP NEWS

Connecticut to receive about $5 million to secure elections

December 26, 2019 GMT

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut is expected to receive roughly $5 million in additional federal grant funds to help protect the state’s voting system.

The money will come from $425 million recently approved by Congress to help states enhance election technology and make election security improvements. Connecticut received an earlier allotment of about $2 million for election security measures.

“It will enable states across the country, which are behind Connecticut, to do more on improving their election infrastructure and also protecting our country against the disinformation and propaganda that Russia is continuing to spread,” Democratic U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Thursday at a news conference at the state Capitol.

Democratic Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said much of the money will be used to help local election officials in Connecticut’s 169 cities and towns bolster their election security efforts and protect the state’s voter file from hackers. She said regional teams have already been put in place.

“We will use some of these funds to have people go and assess what towns are doing now, what kinds of additional security measures they all need and what kind of assistance we can give them,” she said. “Our voter file can be entered at any one of those 169 drop points, so we have to make sure that every single official in every single town understands the need for that security and how to do it.”

Merrill said her office plans to use some of the federal money to eventually create a newer version of the voter file. While that won’t be in place in time for the 2020 election, she said there will be “many new enhancements” to keep it safe and secure.

She stressed there is no risk of the local tabulating machines being hacked.

“Those are not on the internet,” she said. “I can’t say it often enough because I know people start thinking that somehow someone’s going to enter and change the results. That would literally be impossible. So that’s good news.”

To help convince Connecticut voters the system is safe, Merrill said her office will soon be rolling out a new “Trust In Info 2000” campaign. It will provide voters with a place to obtain accurate information about where they are registered to vote, and whether they’re registered properly.

“We’ve had a lot of false information going around, even since the last election,” she said. “We need to launch a very strong public information program to make sure people know we’re on the job. And there is a place they can go to get the real information.”