Missouri gets federal funding to improve election security

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COLUMBIA - Missouri is expected to use around $7.2 million in federal funds for election security. 

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft sent the U.S. Election Assistance Commission a list of ways he would like the funds to be used. 

Ashcroft listed 14 things in his note, including upgrading election computer systems to modernize protections and reduce future vulnerability, developing and implementing a dual-factor authentication for permitted users to access Missouri’s Centralized Voter Registration System (MCVR) and enhancing state IT staff assistance. 

The money will also help fund election security training in St. Louis in September. 

The Secretary of State’s office will also award grants to local election authorities to do things like “perform election security audits and audits of election equipment security to establish or improve best practices for election systems.”

The money is part of a bigger fund of $380 million to help make sure elections nationwide are secure. 

Boone County Clerk Taylor Burks said the county has never has a security breach. 

“We’ve never had our election system penetrated by anyone who’s tried to test what our security measures are,” he said. 

Burks said the money Ashcroft has chosen to invest is well-considered.

“I think that’s a smart way to invest this money so that every county across the state can see the benefit of a stronger election system,” he said. 

One voter said investing the money is good thing to do.

“This is our fundamental right and we should take care of it, so I think it’s wise to invest in it,” Charlotte Larrick said. 

Another voter, Dana Thompson said, “I think it’s probably money well spent to upgrade security of elections systems. I’m all for it. Sounds good to me.” 

In a press release, Ashcroft encouraged Missourians to vote in Tuesday’s primary election. 

"If you’re registered to vote, you can vote — and we need you to vote,” Ashcroft said. “For everyone who doesn’t vote, we lose their wisdom and their experience. The more of us we have trying to find the best solution, the better off we are.” 

He said Missouri’s poll workers are “well-trained and well prepared.” 

“We are regularly in contact with the local election authorities throughout the state, ensuring the fairness and security of Missouri’s elections,” he said.