Cybersecurity firm to review Linn County election system

Joel Miller, Linn County Auditor, speaks to county employees and members of the public at the State of Linn County address at the Kirkwood Hotel in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, April 19, 2017. The event is put on annually by the League of Women Voters. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Joel Miller, Linn County Auditor, speaks to county employees and members of the public at the State of Linn County address at the Kirkwood Hotel in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, April 19, 2017. The event is put on annually by the League of Women Voters. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Linn County election commissioner has retained a Corridor-based cybersecurity firm to review the county’s voter registration and election system.

Linn County Auditor Joel Miller said the review of the system by ProCircular will support the countywide school board elections Sept. 12.

“This is a continuation of our efforts to improve the integrity of the voting process to ensure that our systems and records are secure, and that every vote is accurately counted,” Miller said.

He also cited a “sense of urgency” because of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s recent declaration that voting systems are considered “critical infrastructure.”

Miller recently attended breakout sessions on security at an Election Center convention that caused him to conduct a self-audit.

“But certainly the voter data incident caused me to think about other areas of risk/vulnerability,” Miller said.

The last four digits of about 216,000 Linn County voters’ Social Security numbers were accidentally released in early August. The auditor’s staff was filling a standing request for weekly updates of voter registration information, which, other than the Social Security numbers, is public information.

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ProCircular will inventory Linn County’s election system and voting equipment to confirm compliance with official certified versions, according to Aaron Warner, CEO of ProCircular. The North Liberty firm is a cybersecurity and compliance firm that provides customized, high-quality solutions to organizations by applying decades of real-life expertise.

Also, voting equipment deployed to polling places will be evaluated for vulnerabilities and systems used by Linn County employees to access and update voter registration records will be reviewed for proper safeguards, Warner said.

“We’ve brought together a team of cybersecurity, electronics and voting systems experts to help better secure voting in Linn County,” Warner said.

ProCir5cular’s experts also participated in DefCon’s voter hacking event in Las Vegas this August to bring attention to potential vulnerabilities associated with current voting systems.

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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