Wisconsin Weekly: Warnings of possible election tampering grow

WI elections at risk; two charged with hate crimes; Sherman Park unrest revisited; frac sand mining slows

Of note: This week we highlight multiple stories involving potential security threats to Wisconsin’s elections infrastructure, and our own stories from 2018 warning about those threats reported by former Wisconsin Watch reporter Grigor Atanesian. Hundreds of Wisconsin jurisdictions are seen as vulnerable to hacking as clerks use antiquated computer systems or fail to install security updates, according to a story first reported by Vice

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Expert: More than 500 Wisconsin elections clerks use outdated systems

Associated Press — August 10, 2019

Hundreds of local clerks are using outdated computer systems or aren’t installing security patches, leaving Wisconsin’s election system vulnerable to potentially devastating cyberattacks, state elections officials fear. Officials across the country have stepped up efforts to block hackers from wreaking havoc during the 2020 contests after Russians interfered with the 2016 presidential election. Congress has been warned that there could be more foreign interference next year, when Wisconsin is expected to be a presidential swing state again. In response, the state Elections Commission considered lending $300,000 worth of new equipment to towns with outdated systems, but then dramatically scaled back that proposal.

Two Sheboygan men charged with hate crimes in connection with Fourth of July fight

Sheboygan Press — August 12, 2019

Two Sheboygan men have been charged with hate crimes in connection with a July 4 fight. According to a criminal complaint, Scott Roeder, 63, walked up to a car of young black females making a U-turn near his home on North 2nd Street. He used racial slurs and told the women to “go back to Milwaukee,” he admitted to police. Officers later made contact with the driver who said she was slapped by two people and her glasses were knocked from her face, according to documents filed Monday in Sheboygan County Circuit Court. Previously from Wisconsin Watch: Across Wisconsin, recent rises in hate, bias incidents spark concern

Unrest in Sherman Park: Three years later: Have police-community relations improved?

Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service — August 13, 2019

As a squad and patrol wagon wait at a red light on Sherman Boulevard, two officers from the Milwaukee Police Department’s District 7 sit at a bench in the children’s play area. “The cops, kids and teens all hang out at the park; they’re all here,” said Trenayce Jordan, as she takes turns pushing her 2-year-old grandson, Logan, and 4-year-old son, Kyle, on side-by-side swings. Jordan described the scene last week as the new normal at Sherman Park: two groups that don’t fully trust each other but have become more comfortable with sharing the same space.

Trempealeau County frac sand mine shuts down operations

Wisconsin Public Radio — August 14, 2019

Wisconsin’s frac sand industry continues to struggle amid an oversupply of fine-grained sand used in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The latest casualty is a frac sand mine in Trempealeau County, which is shutting down operations, resulting in between 35 and 40 layoffs. The company says the closure is due to “decreased profitability” and expects the layoffs to last through the end of the year. Previously from Wisconsin Watch: Wisconsin’s Sand Rush

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