Boehnke testifies on bill to ensure secure ballot transmission for military and overseas voters

Appearing Tuesday before the House State Government and Tribal Relations Committee, Rep. Matt Boehnke, R-Kennewick, testified on a bill he's sponsored to ensure secure ballot transmission for military and overseas voters in future elections.

Under House Bill 2111, which was requested by the Secretary of State's office last year, emailed and faxed ballots would no longer be accepted by election officials, thereby eliminating the risk of electronic ballot tampering by cybercriminals. Instead, military and overseas voters would continue receiving a paper ballot in the mail 45 days before an election. Alternatively, they would have the option to download and print a ballot to mail in.

Boehnke, who in addition to being a state lawmaker serves as the director and lead professor of the cybersecurity division at Columbia Basin College, issued the following statement:

“Passage of House Bill 2111 would mark yet another step forward in our state's efforts to mitigate possible security risks that could compromise the integrity of our elections. It is imperative for the Legislature to continue working hand-in-hand with the Secretary of State's office to thwart those who would seek to compromise our election systems.”

In 2018, Secretary of State Kim Wyman found county election systems were at risk of being infiltrated due to counties being required to open email attachments from voters. She issued the following statement:

“Securing our elections is a race without a finish line. A few years ago, my office took steps to shore up election security by eliminating electronic ballot return for a majority of our voters, but the threat of electronic ballot transmission persists. I urge lawmakers that as we head into the 2020 election cycle, they act now to ensure the secure transmission of ballots for our military and overseas voters, and further protect our systems from cyber threats.”

The 2020 session began Monday, Jan. 13.


Washington State House Republican Communications