Kansas is one of five states in the country that is getting an “F” in election security right now, ahead of November’s election. In the same Center for American Progress report that flunked Kansas last month, Missouri got a “D.”
Unfortunately, after more than a year of conversation about Russian meddling in our 2016 election, the country as a whole still hasn’t made election security the top priority it ought to be.
At an a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Wednesday, Department of Homeland Security officials said fewer than two dozen state election officials have the security clearance they’re supposed to have before getting briefed on specific threats. Just 19 states have signed up for the risk assessments the DHS is offering, and 14 are getting their “cyber hygiene” scans.
At the hearing, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said at least they have the right contact numbers for state officials now: “Today, I can say with confidence that we know whom to contact in every state to share threat information. That capability did not exist in 2016.”
… Meanwhile, Nielsen called states that don’t provide a paper trail of votes for audits “a national security concern.” That means you, Kansas.
Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is running for governor and will himself be on a Republican primary ballot in August, has shown far more concern about the imagined threat of voter fraud by non-citizens.
But he has also said that he is pushing the 20 of the state’s 105 counties that don’t use paper trail-producing machines to switch to them, and has told counties they will not receive state subsidies for new voting machines unless they do. …
Obama DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said the issue of Russian interference was all but ignored in the fall of 2016 because the story broke the same day the Access Hollywood tape of Donald Trump talking about grabbing women was released. That’s certainly fair criticism of us in the media.
“Vladimir Putin himself,” Johnson said, “orchestrated cyber attacks on our nation for the purpose of influencing the election that year, plain and simple. The experience was a wake-up call for our nation.”
But was it? We’ll soon find out.
— The Kansas City Star