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Protecting your vote, guarding against ballot tampering with new cybersecurity

The Elections Administration Office in San Patricio County asked for and received this month more than $40,000 for cybersecurity upgrades.

SAN PATRICIO COUNTY, Texas — Tuesday’s election will bring with it a freedom that Americans hold dear: the ability to cast a vote for those things we believe in.

It will also bring a fear that we have all come to dread in recent years -- the possibility that somebody is tampering with our elections.

We are reminded that any election, no matter what issues are on the ballot, is an open invitation for hackers.

That is precisely why the Elections Administration Office in San Patricio County asked for and received this month more than $40,000 for cybersecurity upgrades.

The money is part of a grant from the Help America Vote Act of 2020. It will be used to help keep the election process secure by providing additional safeguards against the threat of cybersecurity.

As San Patricio County Elections Administrator Pamela Hill is quick to point out, it was an opportunity too good to pass up.

“Not that our election is not secure, because our election is secure,” Hill said. “But there's always room for improvement, and so we want to take this opportunity since the grant money is there and go ahead and use it.”

The upgrades are aimed at not only protecting voter information, but also strengthening infrastructure, including a process for potentially stopping an attack before it happens. It also allows those in charge to keep elections going in the event of a cyberattack and, if need be, recover any lost information as quickly as possible.

Hill said this technology can be a gamechanger in a game that has certainly changed. She added, “My goal is that we do everything that we can to secure elections and make people feel like our elections are secure, because that's the most important thing, that when our voters come to the polling place, they know that their vote is going to count.”

It is just another step in protecting our free and fair elections in a way our nation’s founders could never have seen coming.

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