News Roundup: Texas’ Voter Database Is More Vulnerable Than Voting Machines To Cyberattacks

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelSeptember 27, 2018 1:50 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Texas lawmakers discussed cybersecurity and the state’s voting systems yesterday. KUT’s Ashley Lopez reports officials say they are working to improve security around the state’s voter-registration database.

“Keith Ingram, the director of elections at the Texas Secretary of State’s office, told lawmakers that the state’s most vulnerable system is its voter registration database. That’s mostly because it’s connected to the internet. Voting machines, for example, are not. Ingram says his office takes cybersecurity seriously for the state’s voter database because it contains personal information like social security numbers, dates of birth and driver’s license information.  And, he says, about 22 hundred people have access to it.

‘It is worth repeating that we have had no attempted or successful cyberattacks on the Texas statewide electronic voter registration database. However, our agency is very clear-eyed about the fact that such attacks could be possible, and we are taking every step possible to ensure that such attack would be unsuccessful.’

“Ingram says that the more than $20 million the federal government recently gave the state for voting security will go a long way in making the database harder to hack.”

Texas is set to execute its second inmate in two days Thursday evening.

51-year-old Troy Clark was put to death by lethal injection Wednesday night for the 1998 kidnapping and murder of Christina Muse, in Tyler.

The Texas Tribune reports his spouse and four friends were there for his execution, as well as family members of the victim. In his last words he said “I’m not the one that killed Christina, so whatever makes y’all happy.”

Daniel Acker is scheduled to be executed Thursday night for the murder of Marquetta George, 18 years ago. He would be the 10th person put to death in Texas this year, and six more executions are scheduled before the end of 2018. In 2016 and 2017, the state put seven people to death each year.

A brothel featuring robots is soon to open in Houston. But as Houston Public Media’s Laurie Johnson reports, the city’s mayor is looking for ways to regulate it.

“A Toronto-based company that provides sex robots to customers has said it plans to open its first U.S. location in Houston. And now Mayor Sylvester Turner says he’s looking into what the city’s options are.

‘We’ll be looking at distance requirements, just like other sexually oriented businesses that can’t be close to daycares, schools, churches, synagogues and like … and if not, what changes do we need to make.’

“More than 7,000 people have signed a petition asking the mayor to ban the company. Turner says it’s not the type of business he’s trying to attract to Houston or personally wants here, but adds he may not legally be able to prevent the business from opening.”