Stapleton: Election security is a serious matter

As I campaign for secretary of state across Montana, I am reminded of how important it is to balance our desire for larger voter participation with assuring the integrity of our voting process isn’t compromised by expediency or carelessness. If we have the mindset that it’s not a matter of if we get hacked, but when we get hacked, then we’ll be more vigilant and proactive in keeping Montana elections fair and secure.


I have been a member and leader on Information Technology boards which oversee computer systems, in all three branches of Montana government. I’ve operated sophisticated weapons and navigation systems on U.S. warships. I can tell you this much: Computer systems always have glitches, and human error can never be eliminated. The solution is to have an excellent system of operators and users where feedback is encouraged and problems are dealt with honestly and thoroughly. As your next secretary of state, I have three goals:


  1. Improve business services across Montana. Secretary of state is not only our business officer, but in many ways, our chief information technology officer. Montana has just begun rolling out SIMS(BE), an information system that allows Montana businesses to file and maintain all business documents online. I welcome your feedback in the coming months on how we can improve your online experience and innovate new solutions for small businesses.


  1. Provide leadership on the State Land Board. I look forward to balancing the responsibilities of developing Montana’s natural resources (coal, oil, gas, and timber), while protecting our public lands and access.


  1. Manage elections with integrity and fairness. Whether you prefer voting absentee ballots, or showing up in person, my goal is to have consistency across all 56 county election offices. I will be actively involved throughout the state, encouraging voter turnout and assuring election security.


Montana may only have three electoral votes for president, but we have fascinating down-ticket races due to our large state and varying geography. I hope you’ll get out and vote your conscience this fall, and keep our Republic strong!

From Greatfalls Tribune