ROANOKE, W.Va. – Stonewall Resort hosted election officials from all 55 counties in West Virginia for a conference held every two years that aims to keep county clerks and their staff ready to run a smooth, efficient election.
“It’s to get everybody caught up with any legislative changes, the current say, distance you can campaign from a polling, 300 feet to 100 feet, campaign finance, the reporting system, there’s a lot of new stuff that’s going on,” said Secretary of State Mac Warner.
While there’s a lot of changes that can happen in two years, one topic that was central to Monday’s conference was cybersecurity. Warner spoke about the efforts taken to make elections in the state more secure, and he said it’s an issue that needs to be addressed.
“The Russian threat and the meddling is real, and to keep them up on the latest with that. Now West Virginia’s taken a leading role,” said Warner. “Last summer we’re the first one in the entire nation to do the cyber training. DHS was there to watch. They’re taking lessons learned from our presentations and taking it to other states.”
Despite those concerns, County Clerk Susan Thomas said the one thing people do not need to worry about is their vote. The system used to cast votes in the state never goes onto the Internet, and so an individual vote will never be changed.
“It doesn’t get out there, nobody can get that, it’s standalone. Even when we do the tabulation at the end of the night, that’s a standalone computer, it cannot be hooked to the internet,” Thomas said.