Maryland Democrats in Congress ask Gov. Hogan to bolster election security; Hogan agrees

Erin Cox
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

Maryland’s congressional Democrats called on Republican Gov. Larry Hogan on Monday to help bolster election security in advance of the November election.

Hogan immediately agreed.

In a letter to the governor, the nine Democrats in the state’s 10-member Washington delegation asked the governor to set aside state money in order to access a federal grant to pay for a new “chief of information security office” in Maryland’s Board of Elections. The money would also fund a more comprehensive post-election audit, a broader two-step security verification process and security training for election officials.

Hogan spokesman Doug Mayer said called the security and integrity of elections “of the upmost importance.”

“The administration will be taking full advantage of new federal funding that all states received,” Mayer said, adding the administration had concerns about whether the state’s elections board was adequately prepared for an attack.

Maryland was among the 39 states targeted by Russian hackers in advance of the 2016 election, but board officials said attempts to access the state’s online voter registration system were not successful.

The state was already working with federal authorities to shore up the state’s cyber defenses and state lawmakers introduced several bills to fix existing flaws. The General Assembly also passed a first-in-the-nation law to start policing political ads on Facebook and other social media sites.

The congressional delegation asked Hogan to set aside $353,185 in state money in order to tap an election security grant worth $7 million over the next two years.

The Maryland Board of Elections would determine how to spend the money, though it had to adhere to federal guidelines.

ecox@baltsun.com

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