State officials monitor Pennsylvania election security

Pennsylvania Elections

Officials gathered at PEMA headquarters on Tuesday to work together to safeguard the state's municipal election

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – In Pennsylvania, some counties are returning to using paper ballots, one of them being Mercer County.

All of Pennsylvania has to be on paper by next year’s presidential election.

In Harrisburg on Tuesday, there was a group of people monitoring the election to make sure all is secure.

“You can be confident, as you all go vote today, that we are doing everything that we can to ensure that your votes are secure and counted accurately,” said Kathy Boockvar, acting secretary of state.

The department of state, election experts and security professionals gathered at PEMA (Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency) headquarters to work together to safeguard the state’s municipal election.

“We are doing all that we can in Pennsylvania to make sure that Pennsylvania voters have confidence in our election system,” said Marcus Brown, director of the Office of Homeland Security.

Efforts to enhance the state’s election security ramped up after Russians unsuccessfully tried to hack into Pennsylvania’s voter registration system in 2016.

“Our goal is to ensure that American elections are decided by Americans, free of foreign interference,” said Christopher Krebs, director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

One step was taken last year when the department required counties to select new voting systems that provide a paper record to be implemented before next year’s primary election. Fifty-three counties so far have taken action in selecting a new system.

“And 45 of those counties are implementing them today,” Boockvar said.

To limit the risk of being hacked, certified voting systems in Pennsylvania are never connected or permitted on internet networks.

Pennsylvania has partnered with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to conduct assessments of the state’s security and provide counties with security training.

“These are the elements that are necessary to ensure the security of our elections,” Krebs said.

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