National: Time’s Just About Up to Secure the 2018 Midterm Elections | WIRED

February 12, 2018

It’s been roughly two years since the first signs that Russia had launched an interference campaign aimed at the 2016 presidential race, and now the United States is hurtling toward a set of pivotal midterm elections in November. But while some states have made an earnest effort to secure the vote, the overall landscape looks troubling—and in some cases, it’s too late to fix it this year. While Russian meddling inspired many election officials to take cyberthreats seriously and double down on security, each state oversees its own elections process. In the limited window to make defense improvements before the midterms, regional officials can approach the risk in whatever way they see fit. As a result, some citizens will go to the polls in precincts and states that have audited their systems and plugged holes. Some will vote in places that have strong protections on digital election assets, like results-reporting websites and voter registration databases. Some will vote with paper ballots—that’s good—or on machines that automatically generate a paper backup. But election officials and security experts who have participated in or observed the scramble to improve defenses agree that most voters will encounter a mishmash, with some of these protections in place, and some still years away.

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