55 clerks from all around the state of West Virginia are here in Morgantown at the Holiday Inn for the Nation’s first Election Security Conference.
Elections director and deputy council member, Deak Kersey, said this conference and training session’s primary focus was on cyber security and ways to avoid hacking during future elections.
“We’re here to meet with all 55 counties in the state to talk about two big things; cyber security and money to pay for cyber security,” said Kersey.
With electronic voting being the primary way to vote, security methods continue to advance with technology.
“The federal government released six and a half million dollars to West Virginia. It came from the Help America Vote Act to help counties and states prepare for elections and upgrade our cyber security, accessibility, and things to that nature,” said Kersey.
Public officials like the Secretary of State and the Department of Homeland Security attended to help train clerks on how to avoid cyber security situations during the next election.
“Democracy’s foundation is voting. One person one vote. You need to have access to the poles, and you need to have the ability to say I have confidence in the integrity of my elections, so that’s what these clerks are doing here. They’re learning how to keep moving with the times, how to be pioneers, how to innovate, and how to use those federal dollars to do it,” said Kersey.
West Virginia Secretary of State, Mac Warner, said the purpose of this training is to avoid a repeat of the 2016 election and to secure all voting systems within the state.
“The person sitting at their computer who could click on a phishing email or spoofing email and provide someone access and, that’s what happened in the Hilary Clinton campaign in 2016 that got this whole thing started,” said Warner.
“So, we’re training those people here today. We have 150 or more people here to train in Morgantown to make sure the West Virginia election system is secure.”
The West Virginia Secretary of State, along with other public officials, says election security is national security and the overall goal for this conference is to inform West Virginia clerks on the different security systems available and better prepare them on how to avoid cyber hacking during future elections.