Report finds 20% of Texas counties are following best website security practices

Texas Politics
Texas Elections, Texas Votes - 720

TYLER, Texas (KETK) With a big election year coming up, one Texas group says improvements to election security are still needed.

new survey from the League of Women Voters of Texas found 20% of Texas county election websites are following best security practices.

The review looked at nine points of criteria:

  • Website security
  • Mobile friendly
  • Accessibility
  • Election information
  • Help for special categories of voters
  • Voter ID
  • Texas Secretary of State: If counties linked to VoteTexas.Gov or the Secretary of State’s website.
  • Languages
  • Nonpartisan Voters Guide

“What we find is just like Texas is a huge state, and there are many counties with a lot of resources, and counties with very few resources,” League of Women Voters of Texas president, Grace Chimene, said. “You can tell by looking at their election websites what they have available to them.”

Largely, the state’s metro areas scored the best

Here’s a look at how East Texas counties were ranked:

  • Anderson: Good
  • Angelina: Good
  • Bowie: Good
  • Camp: Inadequate
  • Cass: Inadequate
  • Cherokee: Fair
  • Franklin: Fair
  • Gregg: Oustanding
  • Harrison: Good
  • Henderson: Bare minimum
  • Hopkins: Inadquate
  • Houston: Good
  • Marion: Fair
  • Morris: Fair
  • Nacogdoches: Good
  • Panola: Fair
  • Polk: Good
  • Rains: Fair
  • Rusk: Good
  • Sabine: Inadequate
  • San Augustine: Inadequate
  • Shelby: Inadequate
  • Smith: Good
  • Titus: Bare minimum
  • Trinity: Good
  • Upshur: Fair
  • Van Zandt: Bare minimum
  • Wood: Good

Nine counties had “.gov” domains.

“A bad actor can come along and easily create a website that looks kind of like a government website and then pretend and put up wrong information and use that in their social media to try to put out bad information and that would be disastrous,” Chimene said. “We really want counties to take proactive measures right now to secure their websites.”

A new state law requires all counties to undergo an election security assessment. According to the Texas Secretary of State’s office, “all paperwork associated with initiating a county ESA must be completed by December 31, 2019. Counties must complete their ESA by July 31, 2020.”

Chimene suggested voters contact their local elections officials to encourage them to make any fixes.

Click here to refer to the county list to find out how each county did in the review.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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