WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Secretaries of state from most of the 50 states, including Florida, were in Washington this week for their annual national conference.
The main topic on the agenda this year: Cybersecurity.
After Russian interference in the 2016 election, polls from the Associated Press, NPR, PBS and others show many Americans are concerned about vote security.
Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee was among those who attended the conference. She tweeted a message from Washington saying, “Strong collaboration between state and local elections officials help us #Protect2020.”
Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston says he and his counterparts are optimistic.
“We believe that this will probably be the most secure elections that we’ve ever had,” Thurston said.
He says that confidence comes from new voting equipment in his and many other states. But other worries still remain, like how vulnerable online voter registrations rolls could be to hackers.
“If anything does come up, we have that communication chain in place so we can address anything quickly,” Thurston said.
Republicans and Democrats in Congress remain divided over what should be done to protect the country’s elections.
“As far as the states go, I think we really appreciate it when the federal government stays out of a lot of how we run elections,” Thurston said.
But secretaries of state do welcome federal funding. Congress appropriated hundreds of millions of dollars last month for election security efforts.
While states figure out how to match the funds and what to spend them on, Thurston says with the ballot secure, it’s up to the voters.
“Come out to vote. It’s your right. It’s your duty,” he said.
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