If you’re trying to find a polling place or what’s on your ballot, you might use MyVote Wisconsin to get the information you need.
A similar system is used by Wisonsin election clerks, behind-the-scenes. It’s called WisVote.
Ahead of the 2020 elections, WisVote is denying access to computers the Wisconsin Elections Commission says are vulnerable to cyber attacks. In a meeting last week, they decided to up the stakes.
Commissioner Mark Thomsen says that if six communities in Wisconsin don’t update their computers, the commission will expose them.
“I think we need to let them know we’re going public with who they are very soon unless they comply,” Thomsen says.
Technology Director Robert Kehoe says the communities want to access WisVote, but don’t have approved devices.
“We are working very closely with the clerks in every one of those municipalities. We know exactly what computers need work, we know exactly what the problem is with each of those devices, and we have IT staff and DET working directly with those municipalities,” Kehoe says.
Last year, the commission gave out grants to more than 800 communities to update their computers and to train staff on cyber security.
Kehoe says those six municipalities didn’t apply for the grants for a variety of reasons. For now, they will use secure computers on loan from the commission.
Commission spokesperson Reid Magney says to use WisVote, clerks’ offices in these unnamed communities need updated software and hardware. The commission also wants security staff to monitor all traffic on the computers.
“Unless the computer meets our standards, they cannot access our system,” Magney says.
Magney says that the commission will create new grants for the 6 communities. And they will only be publicly exposed if they don’t use the funds to get new secure computers.
At the local level, Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell has taken steps to further secure elections in the county. He urges the commission to identify security vulnerabilities statewide before the Presidential election this November.
“Whoever wins Wisconsin is going to win the presidency,” McDonell says.
Wisconsinites will next head to the polls on April 7th.