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Local officials come together to talk election security

Local officials come together to talk election security (CNYCentral)
Local officials come together to talk election security (CNYCentral)
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We're 286 days from the General Election, and today Congressman John Katko was joined by the Department of Homeland Security officials to hold a security briefing for local election officials.

There were many issues on the table today to help improve election security in Central New York, some of those being outside vendor vulnerability, IT offices overburdened, and information overload.

The Federal Government approved $425 million dollars to focus on election security, and it's now up to the state to decide what to do with those funds.

"Bad guys like Iran, perhaps Russia, and others, are gonna wanna try and create distrust on our election results, and the best way to do that is create distrust in elections themselves," said Congressman Katko.

The Department of Homeland Security officials and Rep. Katko hope to reinforce the public's confidence that when they go out on Election Day, who they vote for is counted.

For the first time, Onondaga County will participate in tabletops, where they'll throw scenarios at election commissioners to see how they react and resolve issues.

"Those tabletop exercises will allow commissioners to think off their feet and be able to resolve problems as they come up because we don't know what the problems are going to be," said Dustin Czarny, the Democratic Elections Commissioner for Onondaga County.

Czarny says the biggest problem he sees with election security is vulnerability to outside vendors the county partners with. Onondaga County has four outside vendors.

Even the Board of Elections was tested just this past November when there was an issue with election night results.

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"It was a vendor that had a bandwidth issue. I mean, it was the first time reporting early voting, and it was a 45 minute delay that felt like 45 years," said Czarny.

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