Oklahoma Accepts Federal Election Money, Forgoes Security Scan

Wednesday, July 18th 2018, 11:04 am
By: Grant Hermes

With the primary run-offs four weeks away and midterm elections just four months away, Oklahoma election officials have accepted millions of dollars in federal election money but forewent a security scan despite being targeted by Russia during the 2016 election season.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, Oklahoma was given about $5.2 million from the Help America Vote Act or HAVA. The act is meant to help improve access and security during voting.

“Among the initiatives included in HAVA are statewide, interactive voter registration databases, provisional balloting, voter identification for some first-time voters, and the implementation of voting systems that are fully accessible to disabled voters,” reads the State Election Board website.

But the state election board said Oklahoma did not get its election security tested this year by DHS, despite being one of 21 states targeted by Russia during the 2016 election season.

State servers were not hacked successfully but federal officials did offer a security scan of the election system which Oklahoma did not opt to have done. Oklahoma was only one of a few states to decline the DHS scan.

In an email, Bryan Dean, the spokesman for the State Election Board said, "Both the State Election Board and State Cyber Command have been in ongoing communication with the Department of Homeland Security as we continue to work together to secure our election systems."

As for the grant money, the SEB was supposed to release where it was going on Tuesday but Dean said the board is still putting on the finishing touches to its report.