Securing the Vote

Securing the Vote

Riverside

Up and down the state county registrars are working aggressively to meet California’s mandate to have new voting systems in place in time for the upcoming presidential primary on March 3, 2020.  Riverside County has earmarked nearly eight million dollars in its new budget to lease equipment certified by the California Secretary of State in addition to $712,115 to purchase an additional mail-sorting/signature verification machine which will also cover the costs of an eight-year maintenance agreement for the new equipment. The additional sorting/signature verification machine will allow the county to process mail ballots faster. This should allow such results to be included in counts of early election returns.  In June 2018 California Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced the investment of $134 Million in new voting systems, including three million dollars to strengthen election cybersecurity and enable county efforts to upgrade or replace voting equipment. This would include the purchase of ballot on demand technology, electronic poll books, and open source voting systems. As part of this initiative, Riverside County qualifies for $6.1 million in state funding to upgrade its voting infrastructure.  This isn’t the first time in recent decades Riverside has spent money to upgrade and secure its voter system—over the last 20 years it deployed and upgraded a touch system at a total cost of about $31 million only to have the state decertify the equipment due to concerns related to its vulnerability.   When Padilla announced state funding to support county efforts to upgrade voting equipment statewide, he stressed, “The California Budget addresses cyber threats by providing $134 million for counties to modernize aging voting equipment and $3 million to create the Office of Elections Cybersecurity and the Office of Enterprise Risk Management. These investments will improve the voter experience, strengthen   existing security measures, and improve collaboration and coordination with county elections officials and our partners in the intelligence community.” The funding also provides support for the Secretary of State’s Communications Department to develop immediate information-correction campaigns, better outreach to communities in rural and urban areas, and to assist county elections officials and voters with up-to-date information about potential threats.

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