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Statement from Secretary Simon on U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the 2016 election

September 22, 2017

Today, Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon released a statement following a phone conversation with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

“This afternoon I received a phone call from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security informing me of its determination that Minnesota was among 21 states targeted by entities acting at the behest of the Russian government leading up to the 2016 election. DHS confirmed to my office that there was no breach and no attempt to breach Minnesota’s election system. The entities scanned IP addresses associated with the Secretary of State’s website for vulnerabilities, but attempted no further action. Our system had previously identified these IP addresses scanning our system and blocked them. Scanning from outside entities is commonplace and happens every day, which is why I continue to believe the most serious challenge to the integrity of our election system is the threat of outside forces, including foreign governments, who seek to disrupt and undermine our elections.”

Secretary Simon has devoted significant resources since taking office toward upgrading the security of our systems. These upgrades include dedicating specific staff to modernize, update, and improve the stability and security of the Statewide Voter Registration System; creating an Information Technology Security Team (ITST) to focus strategically on security across all of our systems; hiring an IT security firm prior to the 2016 election to perform a review of our IT security and physical environment; and rebuilding the Secretary of State’s website on a more modern and secure platform.

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