election security

Jacob Ryan

A top Kentucky election official says foreign hackers scan the state’s election systems looking for vulnerabilities “on a regular basis” and that lawmakers need to create a more stable funding source for election security.

Jared Dearing, executive director of the State Board of Elections, said election officials don’t know if the hacking attempts are coming from foreign governments, but that they “don’t have good intentions.”

“We are routinely scanned by Venezuela, by North Korea, by Russia on a regular basis,” Dearing said.


WKU Public Radio

Despite worries from election security experts, Kentucky will be one of only a few states in 2020 that’s still using some voting machines that don’t produce a paper trail — an industry standard to verify election results.

The reason is one that Kentuckians have heard often: there isn’t enough money, especially in a state that places much of the burden of election administration on local governments.

And despite recent transfusions of cash from the federal government for states to improve election security, the amount allocated to Kentucky in the most recent disbursement only represents about 10 percent of the overall need.


WKU School of Journalism and Broadcasting

As Kentuckians prepare to go to the polls on November 5, an international journalist has a cautionary tale for voters. 

Finnish investigative reporter, Jessikka Aro, was one of the first reporters to expose Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.  During a recent visit to Bowling Green, she encouraged voters to be prepared.

"I would definitely advise people to read the Mueller investigation parts one and two, it really reads easier and more interesting than an average spy novel, but it's actually fact.  And then also if there are some shady, fake profiles and fake news being spread on social media, maybe it might be a good idea to be awake and aware that it might be a malicious actor who is spreading them."

Aro visited Bowling Green recently to receive the WKU School of Media Fleischaker-Greene Award for Courageous International Reporting.

Michelle Hanks

Throughout his career, Mitch McConnell has relished insults like “Grim Reaper,” “Darth Vader” and “Cocaine Mitch,” neutralizing the nicknames by embracing them.

But after he blocked two bills that sought to prevent foreign interference in U.S. elections last week and the moniker “Moscow Mitch” started floating around the internet, McConnell took to the Senate floor to denounce the insult in a lengthy speech.


WKU Public Radio

A series of reports from The Pew Charitable Trusts that focuses on access to the ballot box said Kentucky lawmakers are showing increased interest in reforming state elections.


Scott Greenberger is the executive editor of Stateline, a journalistic project at Pew. He said some lawmakers in the commonwealth are following national trends on issues such as when citizens can cast their ballots.

With less than four months to go, how much are this year's midterm elections at risk for the kind of interference sowed by Russia in 2016?