Secretary of state applauds new state budget, takes aim at election disinformation

Washington Secretary of State Steve Hobbs says the new state budget will better protect election integrity and counter disinformation.

The State Legislature negotiated changes to Washington’s supplemental operating budget for 2022, which now goes to Governor Inslee’s desk to be signed into law. One of its major investments, Hobbs said, is an expanded budget for election security.

"Election security and voter education are my top priorities," said Hobbs. "I thank the state Legislature for its bipartisan support of these critical efforts to ensure more secure and accessible elections."

The Secretary of State’s Security Operations Center (SOC) was formed in 2019, and is in charge of cybersecurity in state and county elections—with the goal of preventing election tampering. Most notably, the SOC manages the VoteWA election website.

The new state budget looks to expand the SOC and bolster security controls.

"We are upping our game to defend our elections from more frequent and sophisticated attacks on the fundamental tools of our democracy," said Hobbs. "We are expanding our Security Operations Center to strengthen our essential training and partnerships with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the Washington State Military Department, and our Air National Guard cyber terrorism experts."

Hobbs says the budget allows his office to better stay on top of false narratives in elections. More funding means more voter outreach campaigns and education, all with the aim of getting more people to the polls.

"As Washington’s chief elections officer, I am committed to working closely with our county election partners to ensure all eligible voters are able to access their ballots and exercise their right to vote," said Hobbs. "Critical to this effort is a more robust voter-education program, especially for young voters, voters with disabilities, non-English-speaking voters, new state residents, and voters in tribal and underserved communities."

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