Kenosha County is up to date and in good shape when it comes to election security, County Clerk Mary Kubicki said.

On Tuesday, the Wisconsin Elections Commission moved to bolster local election security efforts in light of concerns that some clerks’ computer operating systems could be vulnerable to cyberattacks.

The move aims to address potential vulnerabilities across the state, where some clerks are using out-of-date computer systems or failing to install software patches and updates, according to a memo released ahead of the meeting.

Kubicki said Kenosha County is not one of the counties using outdated equipment.

“Kenosha County is very proactive and adheres to state and federal regulations related to election equipment utilized in the county,” she said.

“We ensure that we remain current with the certified releases provided by the vendor (ES&S) as they become available.”

Kubicki said the county’s equipment is certified by the vendor and by state and federal officials.

She added that the county will get a complete upgrade this fall.

“During this upgrade, the security protocols in place will be reviewed, and we will consult with the Wisconsin Elections Commission to determine if there are any additional security measures that can be taken.”

Commissioners Tuesday agreed to direct existing federal dollars to implement software to track the security levels of local elections officials’ computers, at a cost of up to $69,000, create a $30,000 emergency loan program to secure 25 devices that could be temporarily handed out to local clerks who aren’t able to comply with security protocols and take preliminary steps to hire a technical support position.

The action came after WEC’s election security lead Tony Bridges detailed in a memo his concerns about local clerks’ use of outdated operating systems to access the WisVote database, the statewide voter registration and election management system, including Windows XP, where security patches haven’t been supported since 2014.

Meanwhile, the memo also noted others are using Windows 7 to utilize the database, and Microsoft won’t be providing free security updates for it after mid-January 2020.

Not maintaining a current operating system, Bridges’ memo states, “exposes the user to tremendous risk.” He referenced a recent incident in Georgia in which hackers orchestrated a ransomware attack using Ryuk on Jackson County systems, causing officials to pay $400,000 to regain access to their information.

If systems in Wisconsin are similarly attacked, the memo said, confidential information could be exposed, digital records could be destroyed, election night results may not be displayable and absentee ballot distribution and poll book printing could be affected, among other things.