CT election officials using millions in federal funding to secure elections, improve cybersecurity across the state


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The State of Connecticut has received nearly $10 million in federal funding to secure elections this year between the Cares Act and HAVA money. Some of the money is being sent to towns and cities to help with everything from purchasing masks to improving cybersecurity.

Millions in grants are being sprinkled throughout Connecticut’s local election offices. Some of it aimed at cybersecurity risk assessments done by the National Guard.

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill told News 8, “I just want to assure the voters we are on top of this; we are doing everything we can.”

For the first time in State history any voter who wants to cast an absentee ballot in the general election for fear of contracting COVID-19 at the polls can.

RELATED: Applications for absentee ballots to be sent to eligible voters beginning Tuesday, Sept. 8

This week, more than two-million absentee ballot applications hit the mail. All registered voters will get one. The secretary of state expects turnout to shatter past records, estimating 66% will vote absentee. Especially, after the massive amount cast in the August Primary.

Which means securing data is critical.

“We had assistance from the Department of Homeland Security who have come in and given us some product to do what they call ‘cyber cleanse’ our systems,” she explained.

The state will spend grants of $2.1 million toward absentee ballot applications printing and postage.
$1.1 million for ballot package postage, $500,000 for ballot drop boxes, $350,000 for cybersecurity, and $50,000 for election day registration.

750 polling places statewide will be given money to deep clean before November.

Here is the amount of money New Haven, Hartford, West Hartford, and New Britain will get for COVID-19 safety and absentee ballot support:

  • New Haven $93,300
  • Hartford $80,809
  • West Hartford $43,903
  • New Britain $42,609

“Every local official has been given information on how to recognize…anomalies in the system and report them to someone who can do something about it,” added Merrill.

After this year, the legislation allowing COVID-19 as an excuse for absentee ballot voting expires. Meantime, in December the secretary of the state will convene a committee to put together a long-term plan to update both the voter registration system and the tabulators. Both are 20-years-old.

Ballots for the November election will be mailed out Oct. 2. You can check to see the status of your absentee ballot here: https://portaldir.ct.gov/sots/LookUp.aspx

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