The Role of Chief State Election Officials in Election Security:
A majority of members of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) serve as their state's designated chief election official, overseeing the conduct of elections according to law. Safeguarding the integrity of the voting process is central to this role, which includes cybersecurity and contingency planning, as well as providing administrative and technical support for local election officials.
All states consider their election infrastructure a target for bad actors and work continuously to protect elections from cyber and physical threats. NASS members work with private sector companies, the federal government, other state government officials, the National Guard, universities, researchers and others to secure their state’s elections systems and prepare incident response plans.
Elections as Critical Infrastructure:
While remaining a state and local responsibility, on January 6, 2017, elections were designated as critical infrastructure by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Secretaries of State and other election officials have worked with the federal government to ensure this designation functions in a productive way that respects state authority over elections.
The Election Infrastructure Subsector Government Coordinating Council (EIS-GCC) was established in October 2017 to open communication channels and guide collaborative election security endeavors. Secretaries of State were integral in the Council’s establishment and serve as key members, providing invaluable information on state election procedures and structures. Through the EIS-GCC, NASS and its members collaborate with several federal agencies including, DHS, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).
A major accomplishment of the EIS-GCC has been the establishment of the Election Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC) through which state and local election officials share threat information and have access to cybersecurity tools and services.
Additionally, in February of 2018, the Election Infrastructure Subsector Sector Coordinating Council (EIS-SCC) was formed to provide private-sector election industry stakeholders, whose systems are used by state and local governments, a forum to interact and share information on critical infrastructure security and resilience for election infrastructure. The EIS-GCC and EI-SCC work together through various joint working groups and periodic meetings to coordinate efforts when necessary.
Below you can find more election security information.