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Election Cybersecurity

election-cybersecurityForty members of the National Assocation of Secretaries of State (NASS) serve as their state's designated chief election official, overseeing the conduct of elections according to law. Ensuring the integrity of the voting process is central to this role, which includes cyber preparedness and contingency planning, as well as administrative and technical support for local election officials.

NASS Election Cybersecurity Task Force Members

BRIEFING: Key Facts and Findings on Cybersecurity and Foreign Targeting of the 2016 U.S. Elections (03/20/17)

Built-In Safeguards to Our Democracy

As federal officials repeatedly emphasized during the November 2016 presidential election cycle, state and local autonomy over elections is our greatest asset against malicious attacks and systemic fraud.  The structural integrity of our electoral process contains some built-in safeguards:

  • HIGHLY-DECENTRALIZED: There is no way to disrupt the voting process in any large-scale, meaningful way through cyberattacks because there is NO NATIONAL SYSTEM to target.

  • LOW-CONNECTIVITY: State and local election systems do not rely on a great deal of Internet connectivity for their function. For example, voting machines - where actual votes are cast - are not networked and are not connected to the Internet.

  • CHECKS AND BALANCES: The process is highly-localized and designed to foster transparency and participation from from end to end. 

DHS Critical Infrastructure Designation for Elections

On January 6, 2017, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson established a new role for the federal government by designating election infrastracture as critical infrastructure, which DHS interprets to include, "storage facilities, polling places, and centralized vote tabulations locations used to support the election process, and information and communications technology to include voter registration databases, voting machines, and other systems to manage the election process and report and display results on behalf of state and local governments." DHS Overview of Critical Infrastructure   

MINNESOTA: Statement from Secretary Simon in Support of Critical Infrastructure Designation
(Posted: 02/24/17)

OREGON: Letter from Secretary Richardson to President Trump Calling for Rescinding of Critical Infrastructure Designation
(Posted: 01/27/17)

LOUISIANA: Secretary Schedler Seeks Assistance from President-elect Trump
(Posted: 01/17/17)

VERMONT: Condos - Our Elections Systems as 'Critical Infrastructure'
(Posted: 01/17/17)

OHIO: Secretary of State Questions What Feds' Labeling of Election Systems as Critical Infrastructure Could Mean
(Posted: 01/16/17)

Comments from NEW HAMPSHIRE Secretary Gardner and ALABAMA Secretary Merrill
(Posted: 01/12/17)

MISSISSIPPI: Secretary Hosemann's Statement on Designation of State Election Systems as 'Critical Infrastructure'
(Posted: 01/10/17)

COLORADO: Secretary Williams Takes Issue with Election System Designation
(Posted: 01/10/17)

CALIFORNIA: Secretary Padilla Statement on Critical Infrastructure Designation for Elections
(Posted: 01/10/17)

GEORGIA: Statement by Secretary of State Brian Kemp on Critical Infrastructure Designation for Elections
Posted: 01/07/17)

IDAHO: Secretary Denney Statement on DHS Critical Infrasture Designation
(Posted: 01/06/17)

Related Federal Alerts/Announcements

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