As concerns about election security persist less than four months from the primary elections, the secretary of Oklahoma’s Election Board released a letter to the federal government detailing how the state will spend millions of dollars to improve election security.
The letter from Secretary Paul Ziriax to the US Election Assistance Commission outlines the nearly $5.2 million given to the state via the Help Americans Vote Act (HAVA). The state also had roughly $260,000 in matching funds.
-$2.5 million will go to equipment upgrades like software or hardware updates.
-$1.65 million will help to better secure the state's voter registration system.
-$1 million will go to enhancing cyber security in the election process.
- $305,818 will go to security training for Election Board staff
“We believe the funds will help ensure the continued integrity and security of our voter registration and election system in Oklahoma,” Ziriax wrote in the letter.
In 2016, Oklahoma was one of 21 states targeted by Russia although hackers didn't actually get into any servers. Oklahoma's cyber security is considered one of the best in the country.
Senator James Lankford (R-OK) bragged about Oklahoma’s security on the Senate floor last week.
“There was evidence of the Russians conducting a surveillance scandal looking into the vulnerabilities in the state computer network, but they didn't get into the election board computer network and they didn't get into any of our equipment,” Lankford said. “They basically came and checked to see if the door was locked and they found out in Oklahoma, the door was locked.”
Oklahoma did opt out of a federal security scan despite being targeted. In emails both Ziriax and the Election Board’s spokesperson Bryan Dean said the state works closely with the Department of Homeland Security to ensure safe elections.
Oklahoma should officially receive the HAVA funds sometime this week. The state has until 2023 to spend the money and Ziriax said he expects to begin spending this year.
Read the complete letter below: