#4ThePeople: State Election Secretary discusses challenges to voter security

SPOKANE, Wash. — We are counting down the days until the General Election here in the Inland Northwest.

A big concern voters have is election security. Earlier this year, commissioners in Ferry County voted to get rid of the “Albert Sensor,” which is provided to counties for free by the state.

The sensor is designed to alert local governments to potential hacking attempts on their election networks.

“It’s under threat,” Washington State Election Secretary Steve Hobbs said. “Not just Washington state, but all the states in the Union. In February, we had a misinformation campaign that we had to deal with directed at our Albert sensors. A couple of weeks later, we got a call from U.S. Cyber Command letting us know that there were six Russian IP addresses that state and local governments were transmitting data to, and we had to get the word out. Each time, we had to bring the county auditors together, we had to bring in Homeland Security. Even Kim Wyman, former Secretary Wyman, who now works for CISA, came in on those phone calls.”

Hobbs advises voters to be aware of information spread on social media. Hobbs pointed to Facebook’s decision to take down a Chinese network using fake accounts to interfere in our election.

“I can take the ballot of my wife and kids down to the drop box, which I have done before,” Hobbs said. “Other people have done it. It’s not against the law to do that. What I would advise people is, if someone comes up to their home and asks ‘Can I take your ballot to the drop box?’ and you don’t know them — don’t do it! Don’t take to it a mystery person.”

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