Clerk’s Office Looks To Add Election Security Infrastructure

The Livingston County Clerk’s Office wants to boost security in their Elections Division with new infrastructure limiting public access.

County Clerk Elizabeth Hundley came before a County subcommittee Monday with a resolution for a budget transfer in order to fund the project, which would include the installation of a door that will require swipe card access to employee-only areas as there currently is no door preventing the public from walking into those spaces. Other improvements would include the furnishing and installation of a window system on a new counter area and a new partition area. Hundley says the proposed budget amendment ensures compliance with the Uniform Budgeting and Accounting Act, noting that the focus on security in elections has increased since 2016.

According to Hundley, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, the Michigan Bureau of Elections and other election administration specialists recognize that physical security of election equipment at the county level is critical to preventing unwanted access to ballot programming and voting tabulation systems. The Department of Homeland Security in January of 2017 designated the equipment used to administer the nation’s elections as critical infrastructure, and Hundley says that means that officials have a responsibility to protect it.

Improvements were made to the Vital Records portion of the Clerk’s Office in 2018; however that was not the case for the Elections Division and funding for the upgrades was rolled over to 2019. At the meeting of the General Government and Health and Human Services Committee, Hundley told committee members that the goal was to have the project completed by December 20th of 2019 but, for reasons beyond her control, the vendor was unable to do so.

The resolution authorizing the budget transfer states that the cost of the project would not exceed $8,500. Committee members ultimately voted in favor of the request, sending it forward to the County’s Finance Committee and full Board of Commissioners for further consideration and possible approval. If approved, the new features would be installed on Monday, January 20th. (DK)

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