The state won’t be filling its six new elections security positions by primary elections next month.
The elections commission has fought hard for funding for those six new jobs, which all are related to elections security — some in security IT and others that would provide security training to local election workers. The six new positions are funded by a $7 million federal grant.
Elections commission attorney Michael Haas says though the Department of Administration has been slow to fill the positions, Wisconsin elections will be secure.
“You know I think in general we are doing everything we think needs to be done for the August and November elections as far as elections security,” Haas says.
Haas chalks up the Department of Administration’s failure to hire candidates to fill the positions in time for the primaries to staffing shortages on their end, rather than negligence or lack of desire on the part of the Walker administration to secure elections.
The state Department of Administration works with the elections commission on hiring, but is responsible for posting and advertising job openings. Haas says the elections commission handed over the information the DOA needs in May, but none of the jobs are posted yet.
“We’ve been working with DOA, we provided the information that they need, and I know that they have had some staffing shortages,” Haas says. “They have assured us that they are trying to get three of the six positions posted this week.”
After those jobs are posted, they still need to receive applications and go through the hiring process. That means the jobs won’t be filled by the August 14th primary elections.
But Haas says he expects at least those three jobs to be filled by the November elections.
This comes after reports of Russian hacking attempts to state systems in 2016. These six positions are meant to ramp up security after that attempt.
Assembly Minority Leader Rep. Gordon Hintz told the Wisconsin State Journal he questioned why elections security seems to be such a quote “low priority” to the administration.
“There may be other projects that we may not be making as much progress on because election security is a big focus for our staff,” Haas says.
The DOA could not be reached for comment by press time.