TRENTON – Following the recent hacking of voter systems in two states, Senator Nia H. Gill today introduced legislation that seeks assurances from the secretary of state – the state’s chief election official – that New Jersey’s election system is protected.
“The recent hacking of election databases in two states raises grave concerns about the security of the election system in this country,” said Senator Gill. “We have to be proactive in addressing any potential weaknesses in the state’s electoral system that would leave it vulnerable to hacking by anyone who may want to alter, disclose or manipulate information. I am asking the Secretary of State to assure the Legislature and the public that the state’s electoral system is protected.”
In August, it was revealed that the voter registration databases of two states had been hacked by foreign entities seeking to steal the personal information of registered voters. In Arizona, foreign hackers stole the user name and password of an election official in one county, and in Illinois the hackers actually accessed that state’s voter registration database and stole the personal information of 200,000 registered voters.
Following these events, the Federal Bureau of Investigation alerted all election officials to monitor their electoral systems for intrusion, and to take measures to protect these systems by adopting procedures to limit access only to essential personnel and measures to enhance cyber security. Intrusion of the system by hackers can cast doubts on the integrity the process.
“Election processes and systems are the bedrock of our democracy, and must be properly protected to assure the legitimacy of the outcomes of elections,” said Senator Gill. “Ensuring that we have a secure system is one of the most basic steps we can take to protect our citizens and the vote. Given the recent breaches of state systems, it is important that security assessments be conducted and the public given information about whether New Jersey’s system is safeguarded against an intrusion.”
The Joint Resolution urges the Secretary of State, as the Chief Election Official, to communicate with the Legislature and the public about the measures currently in place to protect our electoral system, and to reassure the citizens of this State that our procedures and systems are safe and protected from foreign hackers and other intrusions.