The State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement needs a bigger security budget.
Executive Director Kim Westbrook Strach sent a letter Monday to the joint legislative elections oversight committee requesting a Chief Information Security Officer, newer voting equipment and financial assistance to implement the modernization of the Statewide Elections Information Management System (SEIMS).
“We, along with the nation, have gained a disturbing but more accurate understanding of the threats confronting systems that administer elections,” Westbrook Strach wrote. “It became clearer too that North Carolina is at the forefront of this national challenge, coordinating often with Homeland Security and other federal intelligence partners to secure our elections against foreign threats.”
The Board has already implemented changes to keep up with internal security vulnerabilities, which Westbrook Strach says in the letter exemplifies the agency’s commitment to earning the confidence of the public.
“North Carolina is on the right track, but the Committee’s involvement is needed to meet the evolving challenges of election security,” she wrote.
The letter also outlines recommended statutory revisions to help the Board and county boards of elections address security challenges that surfaced in 2016.
Those changes would include using voting systems that are not connected to a network during operations; strengthening electronic poll books; and background checks for those working within elections administration, including staff and vendors.
You can read the full letter and recommended statutory changes and language below.