To support our continuing efforts to keep Wisconsin elections safe, the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) will implement a multi-factor authentication (MFA) process that will affect all WisVote users. WEC staff has been directed by the Commission to implement this process in advance of the November General Election. This communication is intended to give a preview of what is to come as it relates to MFA for WisVote.
What do we mean by multi-factor authentication? MFA is a system employed to securely verify/authenticate the identity of a user. This type of security verifies who the user is (user ID), what the user knows (password), and what the user has (authentication key). Currently in WisVote, each user enters a login and password to access the system. Once MFA is implemented, this enhanced security measure will require each user to provide a user name, password, and authentication key to access WisVote. This additional authentication method will also require that each user have an email address, unique to the user, associated with each WisVote user account. If you do not have an email address associated with your WisVote account, or if the email address is not unique, a member of the WEC staff will be follow up with you.
The WEC wants WisVote users to become familiar with the new login screen as we continue to prepare to roll out the “authentication” piece of this security measure. Our first phase of implementing MFA consists of a change in the WisVote login screen that will go into effect on Monday, October 8, 2018. Here is a screen shot of the new login screen and process for entering the User ID and Password:
User ID: Enter current WisVote login WITHOUT svrs\
Password: Enter current WisVote password
Next, let’s identify the authentication method that will be implemented. In addition to a unique login and password, each WisVote user will be issued a device called a FIDO key.
FIDO Key: Referred to as a key, token, or authentication device, this is a physical USB-like device that contains a button to push after a user enters his/her login and password. Each user must have his/her own FIDO key. The WEC purchased FIDO keys and will distribute them to all WisVote users with the help of county clerks. Each user will be required sign for his/her device. Please note that if a key is lost, the municipality will be required to purchase a replacement (retail value of each device is approximately $20).
Please also be advised that the particular FIDO key purchased by the WEC will only work using the Google Chrome browser, which means that WisVote will need to be accessed using Chrome. We are aware that there is a “direct print” button available when using WisVote through Internet Explorer (IE). Unfortunately, IE does not support hardware authentication options like FIDO keys. As a result, we are working with our developers for a “direct print” solution for use in Chrome.
All WisVote users will be required to use a method of authentication to access WisVote. If you believe the FIDO key method will not work for your municipality, the WEC requests that you contact us directly to discuss a potential alternative method of authentication. This communication is designed to inform you of the upcoming changes to the login process and allow you time to work with WEC staff to ensure that these changes can be incorporated into your current IT setup. The WEC intends to begin requiring the additional authentication method to access WisVote starting on Monday, October 22, 2018.
Finally, we recognize that there are differences in how elections are administered based on the size of a municipality or county, the number of employees who work for the municipality or county, and the resources available to the municipality or county. As a result, the WEC is requesting assistance from several municipalities and counties to be a part of a brief pilot to test the different options and help clarify our roll out plan. If you are interested in the opportunity, please reach out to our help desk via email or telephone and they will route you to someone on our MFA team.
We all have a responsibility to help ensure that elections remain free, fair, secure, and accessible to everyone who wishes to participate. Thank you for your continued support of the Wisconsin Elections Commission and our elections security initiatives. We appreciate all that you do to continue to keep elections safe throughout Wisconsin. Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (608) 261-2028.