WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) – It’s been two years since hackers targeted election systems in 21 states, including Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Targeting means the hackers were essentially circling the system looking for weak spots to steal information. It raises the question of just how safe is Iowa’s election system.
“You have your own local county auditor who’s doing a lot of these security measures,” said Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, “You have the state office doing their fair share of this.”
Whether you opt to vote early or cast a ballot in person on November 6, you want to know there are safeguards to protect your vote.
Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate visited KWWL and said keeping confidence in the election system is key.
“Recently the Des Moines Register did a poll and it clearly demonstrates folks were comfortable with what we have out there for a process,” he said, “But let’s face it, all the social media out there, with all the misinformation out there, it doesn’t take a lot to make someone go ‘do we have that issue?'”
A recent investigation by the FBI into the sale of voter rolls isn’t boosting that confidence either, but Pate said private voter information isn’t at risk.
“What somebody’s doing is they’re taking an information that’s already available. It’s not confidential, it’s not top secret. It’s the voter registration list. It’s not the confidential information,” he said.
The list brought into question is available to anyone for about $1,000 from the Secretary of State’s office. It does not contain confidential information such as social security numbers. The rolls are typically purchased by political campaigns to make calls and send mailers to registered voters.
“It’s not a security issue. It doesn’t impact voting. It just happened to be a public document like anything else<” Pate said.
However the buyer is using them in an improper manner, which is illegal. They are being used for a commercial purpose to make the buyer money. Pate said the investigation is to find out who the buyer is and put a stop to the misuse.