States Form Election Cybersecurity Task Force, Call on Federal Government to Rescind "Critical Infrastructure" Designation for Elections

For Immediate Release
February 24, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC - The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), which represents chief state election officials, announces the formation of a NASS Election Cybersecurity Task Force and the adoption of a bipartisan resolution opposing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's January 2017 classification of election infrastructure as "critical infrastructure."

"The focus of state election officials has shifted to preparations for the next election cycle, yet there are many unanswered questions to be addressed by this designation, which was made without sufficient state consultation or analysis," noted NASS President Denise W. Merrill, Connecticut Secretary of the State. 

"We are calling on the new administration to rescind the critical infrastructure label for elections and return to the process that has been in place for more than 200 years to provide national security support for our highly-decentralized, low-connectivity electoral system. In the meantime, states will be working together to step up their preparedness against future cyber threats."

The NASS Election Cybersecurity Task Force was created to advance collaboration on the unique priorities and challenges that exist regarding cybersecurity and elections. In addition to helping states share information and combat threats, the body is tasked with providing guidance on NASS efforts and fostering effective partnerships with public/private stakeholders, including DHS and other federal government entities. 

NASS President Denise Merrill (Connecticut) and NASS President-elect Connie Lawson(Indiana) will co-chair the task force, which was established on February 18, 2017 at the annual NASS winter meeting in Washington, DC. 

The NASS Resolution Opposing the Designation of Elections as Critical Infrastructure was adopted by a voice vote on February 18 during the same meeting.

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Founded in 1904, NASS is the oldest, nonpartisan professional organization of public officials in the U.S. Membership is open to the 50 states and all U.S. territories. NASS serves as a medium for the exchange of information between states and fosters cooperation in the development of public policy.


MEDIA CONTACT:  Kay Stimson, Dir. of Communications | 202.624.3528 |