In California, we’re working diligently to keep our elections both secure and accessible. After all, the right to vote is one of the fundamental rights of our democracy.
Even prior to 2016, California put in place a number of policies that have served us well: voting systems are tested and certified before being used by counties, we require paper ballots and a voter verified paper audit trail, we prohibit voting machines from being connected to the internet, and we require each county to conduct a post-election audit after every election.
But in 2016, we saw an unprecedented effort to interfere in our elections and undermine our democracy. And despite the unanimous findings by our nation’s intelligence community, Trump refuses to hold Putin accountable or take meaningful action to prevent future interference. Meanwhile, Republican leaders in Congress also refuse to act, even killing proposals to provide states additional funding for election cybersecurity.
We can’t afford to wait while Trump and Congress refuse to act, so we took matters into our own hands. While there is zero evidence of any hack or breach of California’s elections in 2016, many California voters experienced the massive disinformation campaigns that created confusion and doubt in our elections.
Governor Brown and the Legislature have stepped up and approved $134 million in the current year budget for voting system upgrades and replacement. And they appropriated an additional $3 million for the Creation of the Office of Election Cybersecurity and the Office of Enterprise Risk Management within the Secretary of State’s office.
As my colleague, Secretary of State Steve Simon of Minnesota, puts it, “election cybersecurity is like running a race without a finish line.”
California is doing everything we can to protect our elections this November, but we can’t do it alone — we’re all in this together.
The first thing every voter should do is verify your voter registration information. In California, you can do it easily by going to voterstatus.sos.ca.gov
If you need to register to vote or update your registration, go to registertovote.ca.gov, but you need to do so no later than October 22nd.
Most importantly, defend our democracy by participating in it. This general election, vote. Vote with confidence. Vote in person or vote by mail, but make sure you vote.
And just like at the airport, if you see something, say something. You can report suspicious activity whether it’s on social media or at your polling place by calling the Secretary of State’s voter hotline at (800) 345-VOTE (8683).
Thank you for your continued support,
California Secretary of State