Capitol Alert

With Russian meddling in mind, California invests $134 million to safeguard election systems

An election worker helps volunteers string lights as they set up voting booths at a polling station inside an elementary school library in Los Angeles on Tuesday. A printing error left more than 118,000 names off the lists at 1,530 precincts, according to the county Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's Office. Californians statewide are voting in primary elections Tuesday.
An election worker helps volunteers string lights as they set up voting booths at a polling station inside an elementary school library in Los Angeles on Tuesday. A printing error left more than 118,000 names off the lists at 1,530 precincts, according to the county Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's Office. Californians statewide are voting in primary elections Tuesday. AP

Alex Padilla says California's voting system wasn't compromised by Russia's attempt to interfere with the 2016 U.S. election.

But the issue is in the back of his mind as he looks to safeguard the integrity of the vote.

With increased attention to cybersecurity lately, California is making a sizable investment in its election infrastructure.

This year's state budget provides $134 million for counties to modernize voting systems. It also provides $3 million for the creation of the Office of Elections Cybersecurity and the Office of Enterprise Risk Management.

Because the budget was signed so recently, there hasn’t been enough time for counties to request funding and have contracts generated. Even so, the budget allows counties that recently bought new systems to request reimbursement.

Fifteen counties, including Sacramento, recently purchased eligible equipment, according to a spokesman for Secretary of State Alex Padilla.

Padilla said the funding "couldn't come quick enough."

While he is confident the state's election system wasn't compromised during the 2016 election, he says it's time to upgrade and replace voting equipment he considers dated.

ERIN BROCKOVICH IS BACK

A familiar foe of PG&E is entering the wildfire debates at the Capitol on the opposing side of the state's largest utility company.

Erin Brockovich, an environmental activist, built a case against PG&E for contaminating water in 1993 and became a household name after Julia Roberts played her character in the 2000 film.

Brockovich is appearing in San Francisco Monday to call on PG&E to end its legislative efforts to change liability laws in the aftermath of the devastating 2017 fire season.

INFLUENCER OF THE DAY

When robots take California jobs, what happens next? Influencers have plenty to say.

“To help ensure economic growth and the creation of jobs in our nation, California students must be given the type of education that will enable them to secure employment involving the development and application of innovations in technology. But this must not be done at the expense of providing them with a basic background in the liberal arts and sciences, and in their rights and responsibilities as Californians.”

— Ron George, Former Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court

MUST-READ: California's new consumer privacy law isn't as sweeping as you might think

COOL FOR THE SUMMER

The Legislature is officially on summer recess, as of July 5. The Assembly and Senate will reconvene on August 6. Stick with us — we'll keep you posted in the meantime.

Editor's note: This post was updated at 2:10 p.m. to correct the location of the press conference featuring Erin Brockovich.

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