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Election security in Michigan
SECURITY BEST PRACTICES
Michigan has adopted many national best practices to strengthen our system and ensure our elections are accurate and secure:
- Upgraded voting technology
- Improved Qualified Voter File system
- Joined the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC)
- Expanded risk-limiting post-election audits ***See the latest report***
- Hired the state’s first full-time election security specialist
- Improved cooperation among local, state and federal governments
- Continued other long-standing accuracy and integrity practices
MISINFORMATION AND FALSE INFORMATION
The 2020 elections withstood an unprecedented onslaught of efforts to confuse voters – about the election process, their rights, and the issues at stake. These efforts – be they foreign, domestic, partisan, or simply malicious – are designed to sow mistrust in our elections process and are antithetical to a healthy democracy.
Fighting back against them is critical to ensuring our elections are a secure and accurate reflection of the will of the people.
- Voters must be vigilant against any and all attempts to “hack” their minds with scare tactics and other attempts to lessen their faith or confidence in our elections. They must proactively seek out reliable sources of information and encourage productive dialogue.
- Election officials must be positioned to detect misinformation and to quickly provide correct, accurate information in real time and across all media. This requires cooperation and advance planning between state and local public officials and non-government entities.
ELECTION SECURITY ADVISORY COMMISSION
Secretary Benson appointed an Election Security Advisory Commission in March 2019 to recommend reforms and strategies for ensuring the security of elections in Michigan.
Members included local officials, election specialists and national experts in technology and data security. They assessed Michigan’s voter registration system and data, the process of voting and transmission of election results. The commission held hearings inviting input from citizens and experts on election problems and security and published a set of recommended reforms and actions on Oct. 27, 2020, many of which have already been executed, including:
- Creating regular backups of Qualified Voter File data
- Updating QVF user permissions and implementing user controls to keep user list current and up to date
- Require all QVF users to undergo security training prior to getting access
- Monitoring voter registration activity for anomalous data patterns
- Conducted security review of online voter registration systems
- Conducted additional data security audits and penetration testing
- Provided model security contingency plans and emergency response materials for local jurisdictions
- Conducted workshops and exercises and shared security best practices with local jurisdictions
- Expanded coordination with state and federal partners on IT and other election security issues
- Conducted the state’s first statewide risk limiting audit pilot following the March election
- Established a point of contact for reporting of misinformation