State officials brace voting systems against hacking

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Election officials in Washington continue to bolster the state's elections systems against cyber threats that could disrupt voting or cause citizens to lose faith in the results.

The Seattle Times reports that sensors to detect suspicious activity have been installed in voting systems across Washington's 39 counties, and officials have received extra security training.

In a news conference Tuesday, Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman said she isn't aware of any threats beyond what elections offices normally receive, but officials are nonetheless prepared.

"I'm very confident that your ballot is going to be secure this fall," said Wyman, as she gathered with other officials at the King County's elections offices in Renton, where ballots are counted.

The Washington National Guard has conducted two of three planned assessments to check for weak spots in the voting systems.

During the 2016 elections, Russian hackers targeted Washington and 20 other states, and breached the election system in at least one state, Illinois.

Since then, state officials have teamed up with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Guard to ramp up efforts to prevent any disruptions.

King County Elections Director Julie Wise said she is confident the voter-registration and vote-counting systems are safe.

"I'm confident that Washington state has done everything humanly possible to protect the security of this election," Gov. Jay Inslee said. "We are aware of concerns, and we are deadly committed to making sure that things go well in this election cycle."