SAINT PAUL – Secretary of State Steve Simon today issued the following statement in response to the Office of Legislative Auditor’s report on Minnesota’s voter registration systems:
“I am proud of our best-in-the-nation voting system. But I also know what it’s going to take for Minnesota to continue to lead the nation. I am grateful for this report of the Legislative Auditor, which shines light on our strengths and points out areas where we can continue to improve.
“While we have successfully maintained the security of Minnesota’s voter registration systems, it should not be ignored by anyone that we were one of 21 states whose voter registration systems were targeted in 2016 by a foreign government. Because we have proactively enhanced our cyber-defenses, that foreign actor did not breach our system. Based on intelligence briefings I have received, we expect them, and others, to try again in 2018. Cyber-attacks remain the single greatest threat to the integrity and security of our election system. As Minnesota’s chief election officer, I am committed to working closely with the legislature and local elections officials to strengthen and secure Minnesota’s voter registration systems.
“With regard to the specific recommendations made by the Office of the Legislative Auditor, it is beyond doubt that upgrading the Statewide Voter Registration System (SVRS) is an immediate and vital need, and it is a top priority of my office. Securing our elections means protecting assets like SVRS from attack. SVRS is nearly 15 years old and in need of investment. My office estimates the cost of needed upgrades at $1.4 million over four years ($350,000 per year) to bolster SVRS, the backbone of Minnesota’s election system.
“Finally, I agree with the report’s conclusion that we address inconsistencies in data reporting that could result in potentially inaccurate information on our voter rolls. I am proud that, of more than 8 million ballots cast in Minnesota since 2012, we have had a nearly perfect record of only eligible voters voting. However, nearly perfect is not good enough. By working with other state agencies and county officials to enhance data reporting, and by working to further policy items like automatic voter registration and the implementation of electronic poll books, we will be able to improve upon our 99.999 percent success rate in this area.
“I thank the Office of the Legislative Auditor for its work on this important report, the county officials, county attorneys and other state agencies who participated, and my staff who spent countless hours since last year working with the OLA to ensure that Minnesotans can continue to have the utmost confidence in the security of our elections.”
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