New York City

Cuomo: State stepping in to protect electoral system from hacking

Says Federal Government Not Doing the Job

June 22, 2017 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
New York is taking action to assess the threats to the cyber security of New York’s elections, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. Shown: Voting stations in Downtown Brooklyn awaiting voters during the 2016 primary election. Eagle photo by Mary Frost

The federal government is failing to coordinate a response to evidence of Russian hacking of U.S. elections, so New York state is taking action on its own, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Tuesday.

Cuomo said in a release that he has directed the state Cyber Security Advisory Board to work with agencies and Boards of Election to assess the threats to the cyber security of New York’s elections and recommend solutions.

This directive comes amidst confirmation by the intelligence community of Russian interference in the U.S. 2016 election.  

The governor pointed out that, to date, “there have been no credible reports of electoral system disruptions in New York.”

However, “In the absence of a concerted federal response, New York state is stepping up to ensure we are prepared for the serious cyber threats facing our electoral system,” he said. 

The Cyber Security Advisory Board will work with the Department of Motor Vehicles, the State Office of Information Technology Services and the State and County Boards of Elections to identify high level risks and potential vulnerabilities.

All the security in the world may not protect voters from the New York City Board of Elections (BOE), however. 

BOE’s improper purge of roughly 120,000 Brooklyn voters ahead of the 2016 presidential primary triggered outrage and investigations by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer. The audits turned up gross incompetence, a lack of inventory controls and a dereliction of duty. 

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As a result of the comptroller’s study, BOE described steps the agency says it will take to implement the report’s recommendations. As a result of Schneiderman’s study, the attorney general introduced the New York Votes Act, a reform package aimed at simplifying the voting process, boosting voter registration and increasing voter turnout.

In March, BOE Executive Director Paul Ryan asked the City Council for more than $1 million to put new security measures in place.

 

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